Wednesday, February 10, 2010


U.S. soon to use device that sees through walls
By Sandra Jontz, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Wednesday, February 10, 2010

 Photo courtesy of TiaLinx, Inc.

A soldier shows how a new scanner can see motion of an individual behind a wall. The device is set to be fielded in Afghanistan this year.

U.S. troops in Afghanistan will be equipped sometime this year with hand-held devices that let them peer through concrete walls and scan for buried explosives and tunnels.

Called Eagle scanners, the book-sized instruments send out radio frequencies and measure the signals that bounce back, displaying an image on a screen of what is on the other side of the target, said Fred Mohamadi, chief executive officer of TiaLinx Inc., the California-based company that has developed the devices.

“The product is designed to detect motion behind a barrier, and that barrier could be a wall,” Mohamadi said. “The unit can be used to detect objects or a person or … scan the ground, like for a tunnel underground.”

The company so far has two versions: the portable Eagle 5P, and Eagle 5M, which can be mounted onto vehicles.

The scanners, being purchased through the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment program, will be fielded this year in Afghanistan through the Rapid Equipping Force, according to Army officials in the States and Afghanistan.

Details on how many will be used and when, and which troops can expect them, aren’t being provided. “We don’t comment on systems that are being fielded,” AEWE spokeswoman Brenda Donnell said.

The technology closely mirrors the ground-penetrating radar that troops in Afghanistan already are using to detect buried roadside bombs, Mohamadi said, but the Eagle scanners use a higher number of lower frequency radio signals, meaning the image they see is more detailed, and the scanners can detect motion.

Technology that would allow troops to scan through clothing for objects such as explosives or concealed weapons is being developed but could be fielded as early as next year, Mohamadi said.

The company had hoped to deploy the devices to help in search-and-rescue missions following the devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Haiti.

“It would have gone a long way to helping identify if people were trapped under the buildings,” Mohamadi said. “But logistically, they [rescuers] were so overwhelmed, we just couldn’t make it happen.”

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