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Soldiers could get hand-held, radar-like device

Jul. 18, 2009 - 09:54AM   |   Last Updated: Jul. 18, 2009 - 09:54AM  |  
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Jorge R. Concepcion, program management support demonstrates sense through the wall technology at PEO Soldier. (TOM BROWN / STAFF)

A hand-held radar device designed to see through walls, ceilings and floors may give soldiers the ability to spot enemy forces inside buildings.

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A hand-held radar device designed to see through walls, ceilings and floors may give soldiers the ability to spot enemy forces inside buildings.

Program Executive Office Soldier is developing a "sense through the wall" technology that will make it harder for individuals inside buildings to hide from soldiers searching for bad guys.

"We can look for hiding sites in the floor, hiding sites in the walls or we can look up stairs to see if anybody is up there before we go up the stairwell," said Lt. Col. Joseph Capobianco, product manager for Soldier Sensors and Lasers.

The technology is still in early development, but soldiers could be using it by 2011, Capobianco said.

Here's a look at the "sense through the wall" device:

• How it works. The device is basically a radar system. It sends out a radio wave that goes through the wall, hits what is behind it and bounces right back.

• What you see. Individuals behind a wall appear as red square icons on a tiny display screen.

When the icons move, a blank square is left to mark the original position so the user can track movement.

• Maximum range. A soldier can use the device to scan through a wall up to 20 meters away.

"You don't have to be by the wall in danger, you can drive up" and use it from a protected position, said Jorge Concepcion of PM Sensors and Lasers.

• Wall thickness. Program officials have tested the device on walls up to 8 inches thick. It works on wood, brick, cement and reinforced concrete, they say.

• Keep it portable. Managing size, weight and power is always a challenge with high-tech gadgets, but the goal is to develop a compact device that weighs less than 3 pounds, Capobianco said.

"It should be small enough to [fit] in a pocket or a holster," he said.

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