Electronic Weapons: Handheld X-Ray Vision


January 27, 2010: The U.S. Army is sending the troops a new generation of "see-through-the-wall" devices. The Eagle series of sensors use low power ultra-wideband radio waves to detect what is behind walls (except metal ones). These devices weigh 3.5-6 pounds (there are three versions) and all are handheld. The M model can detect motion, of people or animals who are up to six meters behind a 20cm concrete wall. The P model can see into the ground (3-4 meters down) and detect objects, as well as tunnels. The V model produces sharper images, but at shorter ranges. All these devices use rechargeable batteries that are good for about four hours. The sensors look like a game controller, and put the image on a small screen, as well as being able to wirelessly transmit the image to a laptop computer, which can use software to enhance the image. These non-radar sensors are popular with police and fire departments, as well as anyone who has to search behind walls, or under roads, for stuff that is broken.

This kind of equipment is nothing new. Four years ago, the troops began using the nine pound Radarvision device. While this tool couldn't see through metal walls, it did give you an image of anyone behind any other wall material, including up to a foot of brick, concrete or stone. It could also see through multiple walls. Using a 90 minute battery pack, the image was particularly good if someone in there is moving. Competing devices weighed as little as 6.5 pounds, and had a range of up to 20 meters (63 feet) and batteries that lasted 2.5 hours. The new devices use new technology, are lighter and more reliable and produce sharper images.



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