Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New radar system inspired by dolphins to detect hidden surveillance and explosive devices

Date:
October 23, 2013
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
Inspired by the way dolphins hunt using bubble nets, scientists have developed a new kind of radar that can detect hidden surveillance equipment and explosives. The twin inverted pulse radar (TWIPR) is able to distinguish true 'targets', such as certain types of electronic circuits that may be used in explosive or espionage devices, from 'clutter' (other metallic items like pipes, drinks cans, nails for example) that may be mistaken for a genuine target by traditional radar and metal detectors.

This is an image of the TWIPR diode target.
Credit: University of Southampton

Inspired by the way dolphins hunt using bubble nets, scientists at the University of Southampton, in collaboration with University College London and Cobham Technical Services, have developed a new kind of radar that can detect hidden surveillance equipment and explosives.

The twin inverted pulse radar (TWIPR) is able to distinguish true 'targets', such as certain types of electronic circuits that may be used in explosive or espionage devices, from 'clutter' (other metallic items like pipes, drinks cans, nails for example) that may be mistaken for a genuine target by traditional radar and metal detectors.

The new system has been developed by a team led by Professor Tim Leighton from the University's Institute of Sound and Vibration Research and is based on his unique sonar concept called twin inverted pulse sonar (TWIPS). TWIPS exploits the natural abilities of dolphins to process their sonar signals to distinguish between targets and clutter in bubbly water. Some dolphins have been observed to blow 'bubble nets' around schools of fish, which force the fish to cluster together, and their sonar would not work if they could not distinguish the fish from the bubbles.

The technique uses a signal consisting of two pulses in quick succession, one identical to the other, but phase inverted. Professor Leighton, along with Professor Paul White and students Dan Finfer and Gim Hwa Chua, showed that TWIPS could enhance linear scatter from the target, while simultaneously suppressing nonlinear scattering from oceanic bubbles.

Professor Leighton's team proposed that the TWIPS method could be applied to electromagnetic waves and that the same technique would work with radar. They teamed up with Professor Hugh Griffiths and Dr Kenneth Tong of University College London and Dr David Daniels of Cobham Technical Services to test the proposal, by applying TWIPR radar pulses to a 'target' (a dipole antenna with a diode across its feedpoint -- typical of circuitry in devices associated with covert communications, espionage or explosives) to distinguish it from 'clutter' (represented by an aluminium plate and a rusty bench clamp). In the test, the tiny target showed up 100,000 times more powerfully than the clutter signal from an aluminium plate measuring 34 cm by 40 cm.

The study, 'Radar clutter suppression and target discrimination using twin inverted pulses' is published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A..

Professor Leighton says: "As with TWIPS, the TWIPR method distinguishes linear scatterers from nonlinear ones. However, in scenarios for which TWIPS was designed, the clutter scatters nonlinearly and the target linearly -- while in situations using TWIPR, these properties are reversed.

"For instance, certain electronic components can scatter radar signals nonlinearly if driven by a sufficiently strong radar signal, in contrast to naturally occurring objects which tend to scatter linearly."

Given that the diode target measured 6 cm in length, weighed 2.8 g, costs less than one Euro and requires no batteries, it allows the manufacture of small, lightweight and inexpensive location and identification tags for animals, infrastructure (pipelines, conduits for example) and for humans entering hazardous areas, particularly where they might be underground or buried.. These tags can easily be tuned to scatter-specific resonances to provide a unique identifier to a TWIPR pulse, what Professor Leighton calls 'the TWIPR fingerprint'.

Buried catastrophe victims not carrying such tags might still be located by TWIPR, as it can carry the bandwidth to search for mobile phone resonances, offering the possibility of locating victims from their mobile phones, even when the phones are turned off or the batteries have no charge remaining..

Professor Leighton adds: "In addition to the applications discussed above, such technology could be extended to other radiations, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and light detection and ranging (LIDAR), which, for example, scatters nonlinearly from combustion products, offering the possibility of early fire detection systems."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T. G. Leighton, G. H. Chua, P. R. White, K. F. Tong, H. D. Griffiths, D. J. Daniels. Radar clutter suppression and target discrimination using twin inverted pulses. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 2013; 469 (2160): 20130512 DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2013.0512

Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "New radar system inspired by dolphins to detect hidden surveillance and explosive devices." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131023090800.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2013, October 23). New radar system inspired by dolphins to detect hidden surveillance and explosive devices. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131023090800.htm
University of Southampton. "New radar system inspired by dolphins to detect hidden surveillance and explosive devices." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131023090800.htm (accessed August 26, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) Chinese researchers have expanded on Cold War-era tech and are closer to building a submarine that could reach the speed of sound. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) An acute coal shortage is likely to be aggravated as India's supreme court declared government coal allocations illegal, says Breakingviews' Peter Thal Larsen. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins