Sensors & Transducers e-Digest, Vol. 74, Issue 12, December 2006: Product News
(ISSN 1726- 5479)
Smat 'through-wall' Radar Sensing Device
Cambridge UK, - Cambridge Consultants launches prism 200, a compact 'through-wall' radar sensing device which gives security forces a means of reducing the enormous risks involved in tactical entry, and siege or hostage situations.
The product, which is the size of a briefcase and can be carried and used with one hand, employs sophisticated software to evaluate the position and movement of people in rooms and buildings. The product is highly valuable in a number of situations where it would be otherwise impossible to gain such intelligence. Capable of working to distances of up to 20 metres, it provides users such as police and special forces with answers to two key questions which guide their choice of tactics: "Is anyone behind this wall?", and, "What is the pattern of activity inside this building?"
prism 200 incorporates three advances that make through-wall radar technology a highly practical proposition for security personnel: a radar device that is battery-powered and highly portable; smart radar signal processing that senses human movement and position - even in difficult environments with lots of reflecting surfaces; and meaningful data presentation in forms to suit the user, including plan, elevation or 3D views.
This product launch follows the production of a prototype in 2005, which Cambridge Consultants has demonstrated in countries around the world. The feedback gained from police, special forces and emergency service personnel has helped the company develop and package the technology to suit potential users, and numerous advance orders for prism 200 have already been placed.
"To commercialise this technology, we've talked to the spectrum of potential users and spent over a year refining the hardware and creating a man-machine interface that provides critical intelligence in an intuitive form", says Alan Wiltshire, Product Manager. "The result is a 'switch on and go' unit that can instantly deliver high-level location information that helps tip the balance in favour of security operatives in a broad range of dangerous or time-critical situations."
prism 200 will monitor several subjects and track movement, even in difficult environments such as offices, with their angular surfaces and metal objects which can act like a 'hall of mirrors' to a normal radar. Cambridge Consultants' advanced signal processing software is designed to distinguish moving people from these reflections, distilling vital information that can help observers to determine the real situation inside a building, and what is the best position and time for a tactical entry.
The position of each subject is clearly indicated on the screen, and people can be tracked as they move, to build information on behaviour and room layout. Users can choose to see this information in plan, side elevation or 3-dimensional views, or all three simultaneously. When using the 3D view, the user's viewpoint can also be rotated. This feature could be used to understand clearly where a subject would be, or appear from, as forces enter the space from a particular point.
Such intelligence can help security personnel dealing with extremely dangerous people and situations, such as terrorists and hostage taking. In the case of a siege, the radar allows an observer to build a picture of location and movement patterns inside a building. For this application, multiple prism 200s can be linked by an Ethernet network, if required, with information transmitted to a remote PC.
The radar antennas inside are arranged in such a way that prism 200 has an extremely wide field of view: 120 degrees horizontally and 90 degrees vertically. When combined with the range of the radar, which may be user-selected in four steps up to 20 meters, this provides comprehensive coverage of interior spaces.
During operation, context-sensitive icons are displayed underneath the radar screen, to provide the operator with a one-touch means of changing key parameters such as the type of view, or range.
prism 200 can be held against a wall or mounted on a tripod in a 'stand off' position. The radar uses ultra-wide band (UWB) radar pulses that pass easily through standard building materials including bricks, blocks, concrete, timber, plaster, tiles etc. The radiated power is very low and the unit is inherently safe to use.
The ergonomics of the finished radar unit has been a key focus of the development process. The packaged system measures just 210 x 300 x 450 mm and weighs 5.4 kg, w
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