Second sight

At Intersec today, Cambridge Consultants is previewing Prism 200, the second generation of its through-wall radar technology.

At Intersec today, Cambridge Consultants is previewing the second generation of its through-wall radar technology. Providing 3D feedback on the location and movement of people inside buildings, the system is being reengineered as a standalone handheld unit.

In this new version of the radar, Prism 200, Cambridge Consultants reportedly eliminate the need for an external controller and man-machine interface. This is achieved by integrating a VideoCore processor, which combines high-performance digital signal processing capabilities with a display driver. Results are presented instantly on the unit’s built-in 6.4-inch colour display or, alternatively, transmitted to a remote laptop.

Building on the first-generation Prism 100 radar, the new radar will offer features that will enhance the efficiency and safety of military and emergency service personnel in situations such as hostage taking, search and rescue.

Held against a wall or mounted on a tripod up to two metres away, Prism 200 transmits low frequency ultra-wideband (UWB) radar pulses that pass through building materials over 40 cm thick, to detect activity over a range of up to 15 metres.

A feature of the new intelligent radar core is an array of antennas which gives it a large field of vision – at least 140 degrees in both vertical and horizontal planes – combined with 3D object location and motion tracking. Operators can use the 3D capability to decide whether people are standing, sitting or lying, or whether the object detected is human or an animal.

Prism 200 will be able to provide plan and elevation views. The onboard signal processing may also be customised to suit a wide range of target applications. Programmable parameters include range, scan rate and target permanence, and the display can be adapted for optimised presentation of the data for specific uses.

The system identifies an individual person as a cluster of targets of the same colour to give a clear representation of the movement of each person in the space being monitored. However, much more is possible, including the ability to focus on living/moving targets to give a tracking history of individuals and to build up a picture of the static objects in the room.

Cambridge Consultants say its now at an advanced stage of development with the radar core, and is designing a weatherproof case to house the system. The finished product is expected to weigh around 3 kg/7 pounds, including a lithium-ion battery pack that will store enough power for around two hours of continuous use.

Scheduled for commercial release in early 2006, the Prism 200 through-wall radar will be offered as a packaged and ready-to-use product at under £30,000.