Thursday, June 19, 2008

Israeli company develops radar system that sees through walls.

By Guy Grimland
Ha'aretz (Technology section)

It's not easy to locate Camero's offices in the Kfar Neter industrial zone, but it may have just gotten easier. The startup has developed a system that allows users to see through walls.

It sounds just like a comic book fantasy come true - after all, who hasn't dreamt of getting to peek into the boss's office or the spouse's doings in the other room? Not so fast, budding Poirots: Camero's product is designed not for the entertainment of our inner child, but for use primarily in military and search and rescue operations.

And such technology could indeed be beneficial for special unit soldiers, for instance, or for locating people trapped in burning buildings.

"The idea of seeing through walls has been around since the 1960s, but modern technology is now ripe enough to enable it to happen," explains Camero's technology director, Amir Beeri. "When we established the company in 2004, we intended to develop sufficiently high vision resolution to allow an untrained user to see through a wall."

Camero's unique radar utilizes Ultra Wide Band (UWB), a technology that has only come of age in recent years, and with the use of special algorithms can process data picked up by the detector to give a reasonable image of anything behind that wall. Lacking imaging algorithms, the system made by its competitor, Time Domain is able to reveal only whether there is someone on the other side of the wall.

Although the first version developed by Camero, the Xaver 800, which includes a 82cm by 82cm screen on a tripod and weighs about 10 kg, making the system too clumsy for use in battle conditions, the Xaver 400 and Xaver 300 are both lighter weight and smaller sized, meant for use as a quick-to-use tactical tool.

The systems are capable of penetrating various types of walls, but not solid metal ones, like the walls of shipping containers.

Camero CEO Aharon Aharon says that the company has already sold the system to various armies and police forces around the world, and is optimistic about the future of the technology.

"Like the Israeli army's night vision system, which was once an expensive product and eventually came into broad, general use, we hope that our radar too will become standard issue for all military units," Aharon said.

Guy Grimland

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


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