prism200 sees through walls

Cambridge Consultants has launched prism200, a “through-wall” radar sensing device which gives security forces a means of reducing the risks involved in hostage situations.

Cambridge Consultants has launched prism200, a “through-wall” radar sensing device which gives security forces a means of reducing the risks involved in tactical entry, and siege or hostage situations.

The product is the size of a briefcase and employs sophisticated software to evaluate the position and movement of people in rooms and buildings.

According to Cambridge Consultants, prism200 incorporates three advances that make through-wall radar technology a highly practical proposition for security personnel: a radar device that is battery-powered and highly portable; smart radar signal processing that senses human movement and position – even in difficult environments with lots of reflecting surfaces; and meaningful data presentation in forms to suit the user, including plan, elevation or 3D views.

‘To commercialise this technology, we’ve talked to the spectrum of potential users and spent over a year refining the hardware and creating a man-machine interface that provides critical intelligence in an intuitive form’, says Alan Wiltshire, Product Manager. ‘The result is a ‘switch on and go’ unit that can instantly deliver high-level location information that helps tip the balance in favour of security operatives in a broad range of dangerous or time-critical situations.’

Prism200 will monitor several subjects and track movement, even in difficult environments such as offices, with their angular surfaces and metal objects which can act like a “hall of mirrors” to normal radar. Cambridge Consultants’ says its advanced signal processing software is designed to distinguish moving people from these reflections, distilling information that can help observers to determine the real situation inside a building, and what is the best position and time for a tactical entry.

The position of each subject is clearly indicated on the screen, and people can be tracked as they move, to build information on behaviour and room layout. Users can choose to see this information in plan, side elevation or 3D views, or all three simultaneously. When using the 3D view, the user’s viewpoint can also be rotated. This feature could be used to understand clearly where a subject would be, or appear from, as forces enter the space from a particular point. In the case of a siege, the radar allows an observer to build a picture of location and movement patterns inside a building. For this application, multiple prism200s can be linked by an Ethernet network, if required, with information transmitted to a remote PC.

The radar antennas inside are arranged in such a way that prism200 has an extremely wide field of view: 120 degrees horizontally and 90 degrees vertically. When combined with the range of the radar, which may be user-selected in four steps up to 20 metres, this provides comprehensive coverage of interior spaces.

During operation, context-sensitive icons are displayed underneath the radar screen, to provide the operator with a one-touch means of changing key parameters such as the type of view, or range.

A video of the system in use may be viewed here.