Selex SI : Handheld Radar That Spots Heartbeats Through the Wall

Envisioned for use by firefighters seeking survivors and police and military users seeking hostages, the TWR-S (Through the Wall) radar has been shown for the first time at the Paris Air Show by the Finmeccanica unit.

The new system, suitable for civil protection and military armed forces during on-fields emergency operations, provides immediate detection of humans behind concrete walls and their continuous tracking, as well as building layout and life signs detection.

Based on the new “Through-the-wall radar” technology, it allows to see through obstacles such as walls, doors and other visually opaque materials, covering a broad range of applications in both civilian and military contexts.

The radar can in fact be used in rescue missions to detect and locate survivors trapped inside a burning building or in areas which have been plagued by natural disasters like earthquakes or avalanches. It can also be employed in security missions to get an accurate overview of the inside of a building, for instance in the case of a hostage crisis. People and objects within the building can be detected and located.

In all these scenarios that demand entering unsafe buildings, interventions can represent a danger for firefighters, emergency relief workers and soldiers. The through-the-wall technology can improve situational awareness and reduce risks, before undertaking an intervention inside a structure.

Weighing 2.8 kilograms and approximating the size of a large dinner tray, the TWR-S is designed to be held against external walls using two handles. A screen indicates movement behind the walls at a range of 15 meters, using an S-band radar operating at 2 to 2.5 gigahertz that gives an angle of vision of 150 degrees.

“The radar will also pick up the movement of the human sternum as a person who is not in motion breathes,” said Michele D’Urso, the head of Selex Sistemi Integrati’s innovation team.

The radar will also indicate the width of the wall against which it is placed, said D’Urso. If used in conjunction with a second radar placed against a second external wall, indications of the layout of internal walls inside the building are given.

“This is the first radar that is so light, has such a wide angle of vision, and gives internal lay-outs,” said D’Urso.

The new system has been realized in collaboration with IDS Ingegneria Dei Sistemi SpA. Based on a consolidated expertise on inverse electromagnetic scattering procedures, the solution is able to estimate the thickness and the electromagnetic features of a wall, evaluate the internal layout of buildings to make the operator aware of its geometrical characteristics, detect vital signs like heart beats through the walls and operate an advanced tracking of human being movements inside the considered buildings.

Source : Selex SI & Defence News By TOM KINGTON

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