Re: FC: "Radar flashlight" lets cops spot people through walls

From: Karee Swift (
Date: Tue Apr 17 2001 - 00:44:43 PDT

Hash: SHA1

mmm... YEt another way to wave g'bye to your 4th amendment rights. *wave*
At 08:49 PM 4/16/01 -0400, you wrote:

> UniSci - Daily University Science News
> New Flashlight Sees Through Doors As Well As Windows
> April 16, 2001
> Police officers serving a warrant or searching for a suspect hiding
> inside a building could soon have a new tool for protecting themselves
> and finding the "bad guy."
> A prototype device called the RADAR Flashlight, developed at the
> Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), can detect a human's presence
> through doors and walls up to 8 inches thick.
> The device uses a narrow 16-degree radar beam and specialized signal
> processor to discern respiration and/or movement up to three meters
> behind a wall. The device can penetrate even heavy clothing to detect
> respiration and movements of as little as a few millimeters.
> "We believe the RADAR Flashlight potentially will be useful to police
> officers in ambush situations," says Gene Greneker, the GTRI principal
> research scientist who led the development of the device. ".... It is
> a force multiplier and a safety enhancement tool."
> The RADAR Flashlight is undergoing further modification and testing
> for the next six months. The Georgia Institute of Technology has filed
> a provisional patent for the device, which could become commercially
> available to law enforcement officials within a couple of years if the
> university licenses the technology to a manufacturer.
> With funding in 1998 from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), a
> division of the U.S. Justice Department, Greneker and his team took
> the RADAR Flashlight from a bulky three-part prototype to a
> self-contained unit that weighs about 7 pounds. The NIJ tested the
> device last year at the National Law Enforcement Corrections
> Technology Center in Charleston, S.C., and suggested further
> modifications. Work on those changes is expected to begin this spring
> with additional funding from the NIJ.
> "We will be modifying the RADAR Flashlight based on what law
> enforcement officials told us from the tests," Greneker says. "For one
> thing, they said it makes too much noise when it locks onto a wall (to
> scan). Also, for use by SWAT teams, the RADAR Flashlight needs to be
> operated by remote control. So we plan to put the RADAR Flashlight on
> a tripod at least 25 feet away from a wall and steer it by remote
> control to the part of the wall we're interested in scanning."
> When these modifications are complete, the RADAR Flashlight will
> undergo more rigorous testing in various environmental conditions.
> In its current form, the RADAR Flashlight operates in the following
> manner:
> The user holds the device with a pistol-grip handle, pulls a trigger,
> and the device runs a 3-second self-test to verify that it is properly
> functioning. The user sees the results as a bar graph on a small LED
> display built into the device.
> Then the user presses the device against a wall, pulls the trigger,
> and within 3 seconds the system automatically spaces itself from the
> wall at a distance designed for best performance.
> The RADAR Flashlight's narrow radar beam sends out a pulse of
> electromagnetic energy, then detects the return signal, which is read
> by high-speed signal processing technology that quickly delivers
> bar-graph results to the user's display.
> As the person on the other side of the wall breathes, the bar-graph
> display rises and falls with a rhythmic response.
> Research that evolved into the RADAR Flashlight began at GTRI in the
> mid-1980s with the patenting of a frequency-modulated radar for
> remotely checking vital signs of soldiers wounded on the battlefield
> before risking medics' lives to save the injured.
> This early technology also was tested for its ability to monitor vital
> signs of soldiers clothed in chemical or biological warfare suits,
> without requiring them to risk contamination by removing the
> protective gear.
> Today, a technical challenge remains for researchers working on the
> RADAR Flashlight.
> "We have one problem," Greneker says. "This instrument is so sensitive
> to motion that if you don't hold it still enough, it will detect its
> own self-motion. If we can overcome this, it would be the Holy Grail,
> and interestingly enough, we think we know how to solve this problem
> with additional research."
> Bill Deck of the National Law Enforcement Corrections Technology
> Center cited the RADAR Flashlight's stability and LED display as key
> issues to target before the device is commercialized.
> "The RADAR Flashlight has some potential," Deck said. "There is some
> interest from police departments. They gave us about 25 scenarios in
> which the device could be useful. For example, when an officer goes to
> serve a warrant, it could let him know that someone is standing behind
> the door, maybe waiting to ambush him."
> Greneker says he is encouraged by interest from police departments and
> hopes the RADAR Flashlight will be commercialized soon.
> "Our target sales price is $1,000 to $1,500 per device," Greneker
> says. "That price range is important to police departments because
> they usually don't have a lot of money to spend."
> Meanwhile, other companies have developed a micro-impulse type of
> radar intended for the same purposes as the RADAR Flashlight. The
> micro-impulse radar spreads energy over a broad band of frequencies
> using a technique not yet approved by the Federal Communications
> Commission, Greneker says.
> The RADAR Flashlight operates on a narrow frequency in a license-free
> band, he adds. It can detect motion and/or respiration through brick,
> wood, plasterboard, glass and concrete. It will not work in water or
> on metal structures, such as mobile homes, because these materials are
> electrical conductors.
> For those concerned about radiation exposure from the flashlight,
> Greneker says the emission is very small -- meeting national standards
> for the maximum human exposure limits. It emits about the same amount
> of radiation as a person receives when standing in front of a
> microwave-actuated door in a store. - By Jane M. Sanders
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