Through-the-Wall Surveillance Technologies

By Hunt, Allen; Tillery, Chris et al. | Corrections Today, July 2001 | Go to article overview

Through-the-Wall Surveillance Technologies


Hunt, Allen, Tillery, Chris, Wild, Norbert, Corrections Today


Authors' Note: The views and opinions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the US. government. References to any specific commercial products by trade name, trademark, manufacturer or otherwise do not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation or favoring by the U.S. government.

Inmates have barricaded hostages in a room without surveillance access. You do not know where or how many inmates or hostages there are. You do not know if they are armed or if correctional officers will be in harm's way if they are sent in. This is one of the worst situations corrections professionals face because unknown information could cost lives. But what if you could "see" through the walls?

Each year correctional and law enforcement officers are injured because they lack the ability to detect and track offenders through building walls. The National Institute of Justice's Office of Science and Technology (OS&T) has a comprehensive program to help solve that problem and has made the development of through-thewall surveillance (TWS) technologies a top priority. The technology projects that comprise the program are divided into two broad categories: relatively inexpensive, handheld devices that alert officers to the presence of an individual behind a wall or door; and portable, personal computer-based devices that will enable Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) or Special Operations Response Team (SORT) team commanders to better visualize events during hostage situations.

Simple to Complex

OS&T has concentrated on developing low-power, radar-based devices that do not pose health risks to users or the public. Those devices do not provide pictures; they do not work like a television. The handheld devices simply provide a blinking light or modulating sound that indicate movement behind a wall or door. That movement may be as slight as the breathing motion of an individual's chest.

The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is developing an inexpensive, handheld radar device that will detect individuals through interior walls and doors. A laboratory model of the Radar Flashlight was able to detect an individual through sections of home siding and drywall, a wooden front door and a section of brick and mortar.

Portable PC-based TWS devices are more capable but more expensive than handheld devices. The handheld devices should be available for a few hundred dollars, the portable devices will probably sell for several thousand dollars. With extra money, an agency will purchase added capabilities ranging from providing the direction and distance to individuals moving in a building, to providing an outline of a room and the location of individuals on a computer screen. In addition to indicating interior walls, such devices also may be able to indicate large pieces of furniture, as well as where individuals are located within a building or room.

Raytheon (formerly Hughes Missile Systems) is developing a portable, briefcase-size device for SWAT applications. This device, the Motion and Ranging Sensor (MARS), is a modification of a commercial motion detector sold by Hughes Missile Systems. It employs a radar that can locate and track an individual through reinforced concrete or brick walls.

"Sorting Out"

Researchers also are exploring ways to sort the "good guys" from the "bad guys." SWAT and SORT team members can be targeted with markers that send back a unique signal to the radar source -- in this case the TWS device. The unique signal positively identifies the team member as a good guy. Additionally, in a corrections environment, all staff and other appropriate personnel could be covertly tagged, as could be VIPs in a non-corrections environment. OS&T entered into discussions with British Aerospace (formerly the Sanders division of Lockheed-Martin Sanders (LMS)) to assess the utility of a passive tagging technology for TWS application. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Through-the-Wall Surveillance Technologies
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.