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Military Device Will Sense Through Concrete Walls 325

Juha-Matti Laurio writes "DefenseLINK News is reporting that 'troops conducting urban operations soon will have the capabilities of superheroes, being able to sense through 12 inches of concrete to determine if someone is inside a building.' By simply holding the portable, handheld device named a "Radar Scope" up to a wall, users will be able to detect movements as small as breathing. The Radar Scope hopes to eventually give troops the ability to see up to 50 feet beyond a concrete wall to decrease losses in urban combat."
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Military Device Will Sense Through Concrete Walls

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  • by Skiron ( 735617 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @06:26AM (#14420863) Homepage
    ... as the beeps get nearer and nearer... then THEY should be in to room... look UP to the false ceiling!!!!
  • Urban rescue? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BrynM ( 217883 ) * on Sunday January 08, 2006 @06:27AM (#14420866) Homepage Journal
    Forget military use (killing), how would this work as a survivor searching tool (saving lives) after earthquakes and such? I bet DARPA won't let us "private secor" folk make it useful though. You know: "because people could use it for terror and someone might be killed by that terrorist. Save lives wih a weapon - stupid liberals"
    • by ishmalius ( 153450 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @06:40AM (#14420910)
      That is exactly what will happen.

      Keep in mind, the eggheads at DARPA (they paid me once, too) would love nothing better than to actually tell their families what they do for a living.

      Imagine something like the quakes in Turkey or Iran, and they could find survivors from under the concrete slabs. Kids could point to the TV and say "my daddy made that!"

      Don't confuse politicians with individuals.

      • by patio11 ( 857072 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @07:18AM (#14420988)
        It would also be a good publicity tool, and the military is perfectly capable of using those (and, I might add, comprised of much better people than the grandparent apparently believes). Look at the thousands of lives they saved with relief efforts in the wake of the South Asian tsunami, among any number of similar incidents. Much of the technology used for that operation was developed with military purposes in mind, too (ships capable of creating water onboard, worldwide logistics systems which are "fault tolerant" when the fault involves literally wiping entire cities off the map, helicopter airlift of supplies and medevac, the best first responder medical teams in the world, etc).
    • Forget military use (killing), how would this work as a survivor searching tool (saving lives) after earthquakes and such? I bet DARPA won't let us "private secor" folk make it useful though. You know: "because people could use it for terror and someone might be killed by that terrorist. Save lives wih a weapon - stupid liberals"

      Wont let? How are they going to stop people from building their own? Many of the DIY project people will be building these as the specific details become more available - that is no
    • Uh, the sheer number of commercial spinoffs from ARPA projects is astounding.

      The military does its own thing, and loves it when its projects find some other use too, since it's good publicity and whatnot.
    • I bet DARPA won't let us "private secor" folk make it useful though. You know: "because people could use it for terror and someone might be killed by that terrorist.

      Yeah, and I'd bet those terrorists would just latch onto that DARPA thing they called the "entarnet" or something like that. Too bad we'll never get to use it.
       
    • Re:Urban rescue? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dotmax ( 642602 )
      talk about manufacturing controversy! Did you have to try Real Hard to get so offended by a nonexistant hypothetical or does it come naturally.

      Particularly striking is that you write about DARPA, whose forebear, ARPA, basically built the internet you're using.

      No, they'll let US play with it, but you have to stay outside and scoop the cat poo out of the sandbox.
    • Hi, could someone stop by my house and demo the device for me? I have a few pesky mice that I want to get rid of. I'm hoping it can detect the little varmints breathing too and not just humans. Oh yeah, and if you can grab that darn neighborhood skunk that nukes my house in the summer from time to time, I throw in a bonus. Thanks so much.
      --
      I type a different sig every time I comment on something. Here is my latest.
    • Erm... does this device actually do anything useful that e.g. an endoscope doesn't?
      • Re:Urban rescue? (Score:2, Informative)

        by wombatzoner ( 894828 )
        It doesn't rely on light and doesn't require you to bore a hole through the wall. It also gives you a very quick read on if the room is occupied/not-occupied without having to pan the scope around.
      • It doesn't require you to drill through the concrete wall?

        That seems like a big advantage to me. That means it's a lot faster to use, and there's less risk of tipping off the occupants. Also it's field-portable (if they can actually make it into a rugged handheld unit) and doesn't require all of the ancillary equipment that an endoscope / camera snake does.

        In short, it's much more likely to actually be used by troops, and anything that reduces the number of hot entries that soldiers have to do is a good thi
    • Re:Urban rescue? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by damian cosmas ( 853143 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @12:01PM (#14421714)
      That would explain the GPS navigation system in your Jeep or Hummer (or even Saab) which you drive on the Interstate Highway System, the pilots (a non-trivial fraction of whom are air force/navy retirees) who fly commercial aircraft, your electricity from nuclear power plants, the internet (arpanet) you used to post this tripe, and, of course, the freedoms you enjoy. Yeah, the military-industrial complex has never done anything for civilians.
      • by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot.kadin @ x o x y .net> on Sunday January 08, 2006 @02:43PM (#14422468) Homepage Journal
        Mod parent up.

        I'll add to that list; the automotive industry is full of them. First of all there's the night-vision cameras (arguably invented by the Germans pre WWII), radar parking aids, and heads-up displays.

        At home you can cook using a microwave oven (invented by a researcher at Raytheon), which probably itself uses a Liquid Crystal Display (much of the development of which was done at the UK Radar Research Establishment at Malvern, formerly the Army Radar Establishment). Or maybe you'd like to listen to some music on a set of flat-panel loudspeakers (offshoot of research done by the British DERA into quiet 'stealth' helicopters).

        A list like this could go on practically forever; in fact it's hard to find a product -- any product -- which hasn't been touched by military R&D at some point in its history. To be honest, dollar for dollar, I think it is quite possible that the American public (and other countries too, but particularly the U.S. because we consume so much technology) gets as much if not more out of the money spent on military research by contractors, than we do out of pure research at universities. Not to say that pure research doesn't have it's place, and is almost always inventive in nature, military research is usually directed and innovative, and produces useful devices in relatively short timescales.

        Take a look around your home, unless you live on an Amish farm, you're probably surrounded by things, the initial development of which were paid for with defense dollars.

        References:
        http://www.achtungpanzer.com/ir.htm [achtungpanzer.com] Infrared and Night Vision Scopes
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_crystal_displa y#Brief_history [wikipedia.org] LCDs
        http://www.mod.uk/issues/diversification/diversifi cation_gp.htm#The%20Defence%20Industry [www.mod.uk] Flat Panel Loudspeakers (and many others)
  • Terahertz Imaging (Score:5, Informative)

    by mustafap ( 452510 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @06:35AM (#14420895) Homepage
    For anyone interested, do a google on Terahertz Imaging.

    Once the transmission technology comes down in price it's going to be great for the 'metal detecting' hobbyists. No more digging up rubbish. You'll be able to see the object. This is one technology that I cant wait for!
    • Terahertz imaging can penetrate only cloth, paper, plastic, and other thin tissues. It doesn't penetrate human skin, that's why it's been considered for airport security. It certainly won't penetrate a concrete wall.
  • WALLHACK! (Score:5, Funny)

    by know1 ( 854868 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @06:35AM (#14420896)
    oh my god america is tottally wallhacking, kickban them from the server
    *kicked from international conflict*
  • Nice try... (Score:2, Funny)

    by drstock ( 621360 )
    ... but can it see through my tin foiled walls?
  • Older... (Score:5, Funny)

    by BrynM ( 217883 ) * on Sunday January 08, 2006 @06:37AM (#14420902) Homepage Journal
    Images of older models [google.com] Mmmmmm... military grade hardware.

    (someone had to say it)

  • Bah, what does saving lives matter compared to being able to watch your neighbors knock boots from your couch?
  • Nintendo proved Radarscope was a failure more than 20 years ago...I don't see what they think they're going to accomplish.
  • by kamapuaa ( 555446 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @06:48AM (#14420935) Homepage
    This is hardly innovative. It's one of the first things you can research in X-Com, and that game came out in like 1992!
  • Smoke YOU!!!!

    I'm practicing giving my walls the finger right now.

  • Sad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Deliveranc3 ( 629997 ) <`deliverance' `at' `level4.org'> on Sunday January 08, 2006 @07:03AM (#14420959) Journal
    What this technology really does.

    This spells the end for revolutions, for insurgents, freedom fighters whatever you want to call them.

    This is the final nail in the coffin of home made firearms against your government.

    Oppressive governments rejoice!
    • Re:Sad (Score:2, Insightful)

      This spells the end for revolutions, for insurgents, freedom fighters whatever you want to call them. This is the final nail in the coffin of home made firearms against your government. Oppressive governments rejoice!

      Sad?
      So you are sad for the romantic freedom fighters [wikipedia.org], but not for happy rescue workers [alertnet.org]?
      Good idea, lets stop helpful technological advances in order not to let the evil government agents look through walls.
    • Re:Sad (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dc29A ( 636871 )
      This spells the end for revolutions, for insurgents, freedom fighters whatever you want to call them.


      How will this device stop a car full of exlosives ready to be detonated by distance? Roadside bombs? Suicidie bombers? A suicide bomber with a car full of explosives will drive his van to a checkpoint and blow it up. No need to see if "someone is hidden". Or when a bomber walks into a crowded place, same thing. And roadside bombs or mines are pretty much safe from this device.

      Also let's suppose the US is doi
      • I'm really excited to know what lessons the military will incorporate over the next 20 years from the Iraq experience. 20 years after vietnam, we had Iraq 1 -- we learned from 'Nam. Our guys will be out there learning all kinds of stuff.

        It's going to be great over the next 20 years as America applies the lessons on how to defeat the Iraqis and the crazy honorless killers. We always learn.

        Those guys rock.
    • This kind of nonsense comes up every time a new piece of technology is developed. These (new pieces of technology) will destroy our way of life and we'll all be the slaves of (our new evil overlords). This kind of bullshit will never happen. That's because regardless of whatever the new technology does, the politicians or the military or the evil profit-mongers will still need people to work for them and get things done, and that means that those people have power. Power is all that is necessary to faci
      • That's because regardless of whatever the new technology does, the politicians or the military or the evil profit-mongers will still need people to work for them and get things done, and that means that those people have power.

        You're assuming that the politicians can't get unquestioning machinery to work for them and get things done instead. At some point, they could even have machinery to fix and maintain the machinery, at which point those messy subordinate humans can be cut out of the loop entirely.

        Yea

        • You're assuming that the politicians can't get unquestioning machinery to work for them and get things done instead.

          Well chances are if they don't teach the machines morals, then one day the machines won't have any qualms turning on its masters. Then again, if synthetic life did away with all politicians, would that really be a bad thing?
    • Trying to install Linux on a laptop with nocdrom or Ethernet but DLINK usb wi-fi.
      Obviously you have larger problems than some oppressive government.
    • by CiXeL ( 56313 )
      I'm sure the nazis would've loved to have this technology when they were hunting for the hiding jews. Unfortunately history repeats and whoever it is this time who's hiding will have a much harder time next time around.
      • Yes, let's always bring the Nazis into this [wikipedia.org], after all, every single modern day use of this new device would be inherently evil! Think about it! Rescuers would know where people were! Hostage rescue teams would know the layout of buildings and disposition of forces inside! Yes, obviously this is just part of another terrible scheme to keep the proletariat down! And the NAZIS might have used it, so NO ONE should consider adopting it because - gasp - it could've been used by them to hunt Jews!

        I'll prob

    • Thankfully, in the US it is illegal for law-enforcement to spy with gizmos into people's houses without a warrant. This was originally done to prevent the abuse of infrared imaging, but I think it would apply here too.

      And in other countries.... freedom fighters rarely hang out near the local police station. If the army (which is what is generally chasing them) can get close enough to use imaging technologies to look for hidden weapons, they are already close enough to shoot them.
    • You know, I had a lot more 'sympathy' for the underdog when he was a revolutionary fighting an oppressive government.

      But since the 1960s and 70s, terrorists have found that murderous brutality against women, children, and civilians in general gets them so much more publicity, they've gone that route.

      I may have disagreed with the mid-20th Century IRA, or the comoros, or other earlier insurgencies, but back when they attacked only soldiers and policemen it at least had a legitimate claim that its efforts were
    • Yes, I'm sure the ability to determine if there is movement or not on the other side of a concrete wall will be the final nail in the coffin of freedom.

      This is NOT an imaging device. It's a motion detector. Maybe on the other side of a wall is a room full of heavily-armed revolutionaries, or maybe it's a cat chasing a mouse.
  • excellent (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pintomp3 ( 882811 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @07:05AM (#14420963)
    now we can make sure we kill everyone before moving along.
    • now we can make sure we kill everyone before moving along.

      If you're an American soldier on the ground, that just makes sure there's no one who's going to shoot you in the back when you move on.
  • Possible problems (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OpenSourced ( 323149 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @07:24AM (#14421002) Journal
    I would like to know if the testing environments included many animals in the buildings. In many places in this world, people keeps poultry and other livestock inside their homes. As they are so sensitive, will these devices be fooled by rats inside the building? Or even flies? This thing could give so many false positives in real use as to be almost useless.

    Seeing it from the point of view of a guerrilla fighter, now you would have an easy way of luring troops into your traps by simply putting a dog in the building. When the troops come, the booby trap explodes. Or better than a dog, use a man, seeing how low the own human life is regarded by some of the latests fighters-against-freedom groups.

    It's perhaps just me but I'm a bit tired of this way of presenting technology as the key that will solve the problems of the military in guerrilla environments. Organization, training and motivation are in my humble point of view, much more important. But you cannot show them off so easily in a presentation, I suppose.
    • It's perhaps just me but I'm a bit tired of this way of presenting technology as the key that will solve the problems of the military in guerrilla environments.

      There are two ways a conventional army can win guerilla wars: by attacking the civilian population, or by staying out of guerilla wars.

      Britain lost the American revolution to guerillas; America lost To Vietnam's Viet Cong; Soviet Russia (and decades before, Britain) lost to Afghan guerillas.

      Nazi Germany managed to prevent major uprisings by being wil
      • There are two ways a conventional army can win guerilla wars: by attacking the civilian population, or by staying out of guerilla wars.

        But how do you anticipate whether a guerilla war will precipitate in the first place? The Bush administration didn't anticipate the mess in Iraq, they thought we'd be greeted as liberators and delared "mission accomplished" after the victory in conventional warfare which was, as expected, "a cakewalk."

        It would be tempting to conclude that you simply can't impose democr

        • "The Bush administration didn't anticipate the mess in Iraq,"

          That's because the Bush Administration made sure to fire the generals and experts who did anticipate the mess.

          As Richard Clarke and others have made clear, the Bush Administration decided, immediately after 9/11, to go into Iraq. They weren't about to let facts get in the way of their "vision".

          God save us from "visionary" leaders.

          There are so many things the Bush administration "didn't anticipate" or got wrong, or mismanaged: warnings before 9/11,
        • Re:Possible problems (Score:5, Informative)

          by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @01:57PM (#14422225) Homepage
          But how do you anticipate whether a guerilla war will precipitate in the first place? The Bush administration didn't anticipate the mess in Iraq


          His father certainly did. Here's a quote [thememoryhole.org] George H. W. Bush, from back in 1991:


          While we hoped that popular revolt or coup would topple Saddam, neither the U.S. nor the countries of the region wished to see the breakup of the Iraqi state. We were concerned about the long-term balance of power at the head of the Gulf. Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in "mission creep," and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. [...] Under those circumstances, furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-cold war world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the U.N.'s mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the U.S. could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different--and perhaps barren--outcome.

      • Luckily, the bombers in Iraq are not committed nationalists, and they have little support in the population. This is at least partially thanks to the fact that everyone gets bombed, including everyday Iraqis. As a matter of fact, more Iraqis have died from bombings than Americans. So there's still hope that Iraq can be stabilized until the committed nationalists can take over. You know, the people voting for their representatives and stuff
    • Yeah, you see you're right. Technology is not a magical wand to 'solve' military and political problems. Problems coming from the mind, like terrorism can only be fought in the mind.

      Take this device, for example, it is just a device. On the other side, there is a human, a much more adaptive, thinking evolving "device". As soon as that human learns of this technology, he will find a way to counter it or even turn it against the user of the device.

      Anti-terrorist measures cannot be technical or military. T
  • by dtmos ( 447842 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @07:47AM (#14421040)

    This is an ultrawideband through-wall imaging system, and is an old technology that has been around for many years. Two of the many manufacturers are Time Domain [Flash!] [timedomain.com] and Camero [camero-tech.com].

    Note that, while military radio emissions are regulated in the U.S. by the NTIA [doc.gov], U.S. civilian use of ultrawideband through-wall imaging systems is controlled by the FCC (by regulations established in April 2002 [pdf!] [fcc.gov]). 47 U.S.C. 15.510(5)(e) [pdf!] [fcc.gov] states that

    Through-wall imaging systems operating under the provisions of this section shall bear thefollowing or similar statement in a conspicuous location on the device:
    "Operation of this device is restricted to law enforcement, emergency rescue and firefighter personnel. Operation by any other party is a violation of 47 U.S.C. 301 and could subject the operator to serious legal penalties."
    Basically, and as defined by rules elsewhere, it's illegal even to possess one in the U.S. if you're not a first-responder type.
    • Couple of points.

      I wasn't able to access the DefenseLink article for some reason (it came up blank in several browsers), but I thought I would make a couple of comments on UWB imaging.

      These UWB based through wall imaging systems have been available, for example, in Japan for 20 years. They were banned in the US until after 9/11 because of political pressure from telco's (Biggest docket the FCC has ever seen).

      At that time, they were allowed to the public(with great restrictions) as unlicensed spectrum device
      • Heavy armor will stop waves in the THz spectrum. It takes either hard x-rays or gamma rays to penetrate metal of any sizeable thickness. The best UWB could do is melt the target, but with the kind of equipment needed for that, a simple bazooka is far more practical. Also, superconducting armor will provide 100% reflection in theory (correct me if I'm wrong), so it could be countered.
    • UWB, while exotic, is not impossible to duplicate.

      I wonder how long plans for a primitive device make it out onto the Net - I'm reminded of the early Van Eck devices. Initially people thought they were science fiction or a joke....
  • obligatory (Score:4, Funny)

    by [cx] ( 181186 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @08:31AM (#14421118)
    OMG WALLHACK!!
  • This product has so many better uses that military, but if it is proved effective I bet no one else will ever see it. Why is it that some of the best inventions for saving lives end up being used to to take them, I guess that is just human nature, what a shame.
  • .. The enemy havent brought their Kryptonite...
  • "Someone is hiding in there. Let's kill it, just to be save."
  • NO doubt this device will somehow be used against the USA one day. Criminals will be using this soon, you just wait. I am happy I live in Jamaica where we dont go to war with anyone but ourselves! I wonder if the regular cops are gonna start using it and if so do they need a warrant to use it?
  • reverse the polarity on the flux capacitor and use this for some mad WiFi?
  • The US Military already minimizes losses by killing everyone in the house before going in. They call in an air strike or lob a combo of HE+WP shells ("Shake 'n Bake"). See Fallujah, Najaf, Baghdad, etc...

    • Completely untrue!

      Airstrikes and artillary are used AFTER confirmation of enemy in structures. If there were any truth to your insanely stupid comment, the number of allied soldiers injured in this war would be much reduced.

      Here's a penny! Go buy a brain which is at least twice as good as the one you currently have.

  • resolution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @12:31PM (#14421818)
    So this thing will really be able to distinguish between bad guy holding pipe bomb and joe citizen holding thermos or can of pringles? hmmm....

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