October 19, 2011
MIT Researchers Develop New ‘See-Through-Wall’ Technology
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed a new radar technology that can reveal what is going on behind a wall.
The new see-through-walls technology developed at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory has the ability to see through walls from a distance, giving a real-time video of what is going on behind solid walls.
The device uses two rows of antennas; eight for receiving a signal and 13 for transmitting a signal.
Gregory Charvat, technical staff at Lincoln Lab and the leader of the project, said that the new technology could have powerful military uses.
The device is able to be used at a range of up to 60 feet away from the wall and provide real-time footage at 10.8 frames per second.
The researchers use an analog crystal filter to help exploit frequency differences between the modulated waves that bounce off the wall and those that bounce off the target behind the wall.
“So if the wall is 20 feet away, let´s say, it shows up as a 20-kilohertz sine wave. If you, behind the wall, are 30 feet away, maybe you´ll show up as a 30-kilohertz sine wave,” Charvat said in a press release.
The system digitizes the signals it receives into video. Currently, humans show up as "blobs" that move in a bird's-eye-view perspective. However, the researchers are working on algorithms that will automatically convert a blob into a clean symbol.
The team also said the radar could eventually be used domestically by emergency-response teams and others.
The team showed in a demonstration how the radar was able to image two humans moving behind solid concrete and cinder-block walls, as well as a human swinging a metal pole in free-space.
The project won best paper at the 2010 Tri-Services Radar Symposium conference.
Image Caption: In this front view, the radar system's array elements are shown. The 8 receive elements are in the top row and the 13 transmit elements are on the bottom row. The rear panels of the RF, analog, and digital hardware are shown at the bottom. The array measures 8.5 feet wide by 2 feet tall, and the entire system stands about 5 feet off the ground. Casters are used so that the system can be moved around easily during field testing. Credit: MIT/Lincoln Laboratory
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