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MIT Develops New Radar Technology: Military Could See Through Walls

ABC News 10/22/2011 01:22
Lincoln Laboratory researchers Gregory Charvat and John Peabody, foreground, stand before the solid concrete wall through which they successfully detected and captured human movement.

Lincoln Laboratory researchers Gregory Charvat and John Peabody, foreground, stand before the solid concrete wall through which they successfully detected and captured human movement.


Looking through walls is no longer something we read about in comic books or watch in Superman movies. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory has presented new radar technology that would allow humans to see through a solid wall.



The device is 8½ feet long. It consists of an array of antennae arranged in two rows -- including eight signal receiving elements on the top and 13 signal transmitting elements at the bottom. Other components include cabling, a low-power radar transmitter, a sensitive radar receiver, a filoscope (used as a small screen purely for diagnosing problems) and of course a larger screen, similar to the average 24 inch computer screen, where one can actually view images transmitted.

All this equipment is mounted onto a movable cart that can stand at a range from 15 to 40 feet from the location you're observing.

Researcher and leader of the project, Dr. Gregory Charvat, tells ABC News the technology was conceived with the notion that it would be used by U.S. soliders during war time.

"It can be powerful during military operations especially in urban combat situations," said Charvat.

The device works by emitting frequency waves at a low-power microwave signal. That signal will hit in the direction of the target, in this case a wall. Each time a wave hits the wall only some of it is absorbed inside of the wall, a tiny portion actually gets through. Once the waves go through the wall, they propagate whatever is behind the wall and pass back through that wall and into the radar's receivers.


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