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Privacy Technology

New Radar Sees Through Walls 397

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the watching-me-watching-you dept.
artemis67 writes "A small Israeli company has developed a radar system that uses ultra-wideband technology to produce three-dimensional pictures of the space behind a wall from a distance of up to 20 meters. The pictures, which reportedly resemble those produced by ultrasound, are relatively high-resolution and are produced in real time. Wow, it sounds like the potential benefits of this device are huge, saving lives of soldiers, firemen, or police; the potential for privacy invasion, however, is similarly large."
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New Radar Sees Through Walls

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  • Our gratitude (Score:5, Interesting)

    by andyrut (300890) on Friday July 02, 2004 @11:46AM (#9593164) Homepage Journal
    On behalf of the Peeping Tom Society I say thanks, RadarVision!

    If it's not already Slashdotted, you can download the sample video [radarvision.com] off of the RadarVision website. The display doesn't give you Superman see-everything-in-detail-through-walls kind of powers (Lois Lane: "what kind of underwear am I wearing?"), but it's still pretty cool that this kind of thing can be done without using heat signatures and whatnot.
    • by DHR (68430) on Friday July 02, 2004 @11:52AM (#9593251) Homepage
      wow, a glowing blob, what an invasion of privacy.
      • Re:Our gratitude (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Short Circuit (52384) <mikemol@gmail.com> on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:07PM (#9593444) Homepage Journal
        Actually, I think a low-resolution system is a worse invasion of privacy than a high-resolution.

        A low-resolution system is liable to lead to much more subjective interperetation in court. So you see the shape of the blob change slightly while he's at his computer. Is he drinking coffee or is he getting off looking at child porn?
        • Re:Our gratitude (Score:5, Insightful)

          by geoffspear (692508) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:26PM (#9593651) Homepage
          That's why we have that whole "beyond a reasonable doubt" burden of proof thing.

          If they have a low-res recording of you building a bomb, your defense attorney can reasonably argue that the blob the jury sees could be doing anything. I doubt such images would ever even be considered admissible by the courts if they were of such low quality.

        • by hoggoth (414195) on Friday July 02, 2004 @01:48PM (#9594508) Journal
          > Is he drinking coffee or is he getting off looking at child porn?

          That all depends... is he drinking the coffee in quick little sips over and over again, drinking faster and faster until he appears to spill some coffee and reach for some napkins to clean it up?

          Then he's just drinking coffee.

        • Re:Our gratitude (Score:4, Insightful)

          by bckrispi (725257) on Friday July 02, 2004 @02:47PM (#9595022)
          You're kind of missing the problem here. The "blobs" being admissible in court isn't the issue. Using this technology to establish probable cause for executing a warrant *is*. Let me clarify this with a "real world" example that I read about a couple of years ago.

          "John" was suspected of growing Marijuana in his attic with intent to sell. The police tried to get a warrant to search John's house, but they hadn't established enough probable cause to get a judge to sign the warrant, even with John's house under surveilance(sp?).

          The police then used an Infrared camera to look "inside" John's house (without a warrant) to see what he was up to. They saw the heat coming of the growing lights illuminating what appeared to be a small forest of Home Grown. The police return to the Judge with this evidence. The judge signs the warrant, John's house is searched, the weed is found, and John is arrested.

          In a pre-trial hearing, John's lawyer challenged the legality of the search, on the grounds that the police effectively "searched behind closed doors" by using the infrared camera without a search warrant.

          Unfortunately, I can't remember for the life of me what the judge ruled on this motion, but it is very similar to what we're dealing with here. Essentially, it deals with what is considered 'plain sight' for an officer. It is accepted that an officer can use what he sees in his depth of vision as evidence. If you allow a policeman into your house, and he sees drugs lying in open on the table, you sure as hell will be arrested. But that same officer has no right to start opening drawers in your house looking for drugs. IR and Sonic technology "blur the line" on what is plain sight, and what is an intrusive search.

          • Re:Our gratitude (Score:5, Informative)

            by bartle (447377) on Friday July 02, 2004 @03:41PM (#9595523) Homepage

            Unfortunately, I can't remember for the life of me what the judge ruled on this motion, but it is very similar to what we're dealing with here.

            Your post would've been that much more worth reading if you could have remembered. The supreme court ruled [go.com] that infared cameras and similiar uses of technology required the use of a warrant.

    • by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:16PM (#9593550) Homepage
      You should see the viewing apparatus for this device: It's a pair of black horn-rims with swirls on the lenses...
    • Re:Our gratitude (Score:4, Informative)

      by SparklesMalone (623241) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:19PM (#9593573)
      Cool link, but it's the "old" Time Domain brand, not the newer Camero brand. The newer brand has better res according to the article. Here's a couple other news sites that popped out of Google:
      Isreali press [haaretzdaily.com] and an investor announcement [formahost.biz].
    • by ScottGant (642590) <scott_gant&sbcglobal,netNOT> on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:39PM (#9593813) Homepage
      Just think about putting this thing on like a helicopter...then also put some ultra-sensative microphones on it so you could also listen through the walls...

      Then have like a "whisper" mode on the helicopter so you could hover in relative silence while surveilling the structure that you happen to be..um...surveilling.

      Have a JAFO onboard to be in charge of the taping (to half inch videotape) and working the cameras.

      We could call this Helicopter something catchy...like "Red Lightening" or "Thunder Blue" or something like that...we'll think of something...
  • by teutonic_leech (596265) on Friday July 02, 2004 @11:47AM (#9593178)
    ... next time I read the newest Playboy mag at home - LOL
  • Oh good (Score:5, Funny)

    by Aggrazel (13616) <aggrazel@gmail.com> on Friday July 02, 2004 @11:47AM (#9593182) Journal
    Now if we can just condense this technology into a pair of glasses ...
  • No fears... (Score:5, Funny)

    by swordboy (472941) on Friday July 02, 2004 @11:47AM (#9593183) Journal
    This stuff will never penetrate my Tin Foil Apartment [blacktable.com]!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    When I was a kid, I ordered the X-Ray vision glasses advertised in the back of my comic book. I was not pleased with the results.
  • terrahertz imaging (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bobthemuse (574400) on Friday July 02, 2004 @11:48AM (#9593190)
    Isn't this similar to the terahertz imaging [slashdot.org] previously discussed? Also seen here [slashdot.org] and here [slashdot.org]?
    • The article and the Slashdot summary talk about ultra-wide band while teraherz imaging should be about high frequency, so its difficult to say if those two methods are similar.

      AFAIK, if the israeli method uses wide-band (that is a wide interval of frequencies), it should be easier to detect if you are being scanned. Even without resorting to special purpose detectors, such radar scans may interfere with cellphone, sat tv, or wireless transmissions, so the target may know a scan is underway and react.
    • It's actually nothing like it if you watched the sample video. It's actually an Aliens motion tracker. And I mean exactly like it.
      • Or maybe not, apparently someone linked to the wrong company. Radarvision is an Aliens motion tracker, not sure about the device the article was actually mentioning.
  • Very cool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman AT gmail DOT com> on Friday July 02, 2004 @11:49AM (#9593208) Homepage Journal
    I could see this being especially useful for counter-sniper sweeps. If you can see through buildings, you can do a helicopter sweep of the area and verify that no snipers are waiting to kill a VIP on the move.
    • Re:Very cool (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dave420 (699308)
      All from 20 feet away? All you need is a building with a point 20 feet from the nearest walls, and the technology is rendered useless.
      • Re:Very cool (Score:3, Informative)

        "All from 20 feet away?"

        the article says 20 meters.
      • Re:Very cool (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AKAImBatman (238306)
        All from 20 feet away? All you need is a building with a point 20 feet from the nearest walls, and the technology is rendered useless.

        The handheld unit does 20 feet away. A heli powered unit might be more powerful. Besides, the advantage to a helicopter is that you CAN get within 20 feet to check. It slows down the sweep, but at least you can make sure that your President or foreign national is safe.
    • Re:Very cool (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DrEldarion (114072)
      Of course, on the flipside, if you manage to integrate it into a scope, it could be a very useful tool for snipers as well.
      • Re:Very cool (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AKAImBatman (238306)
        That's a bit more doubtful. One of the sniper's biggest advantages is his extreme distance (sometimes as far as miles away). Even a high powered military scope would have difficulty in finding the target at that range. However, that doesn't mean that you couldn't use it to target someone in the building next door. You'll have to be satisfied with increased risk, however.
      • by genner (694963)
        Every counter-strike wall hacker would agree with you.
    • Re:Very cool (Score:4, Insightful)

      by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Friday July 02, 2004 @03:40PM (#9595512) Homepage
      I could see this being especially useful for counter-sniper sweeps. If you can see through buildings, you can do a helicopter sweep of the area and verify that no snipers are waiting to kill a VIP on the move

      Even without range issues, I don't think that would really work that well. For example, suppose they had done that in 1963 along the Kennedy motorcade route. They would have found out someone was in the book depository. The problem is that someone being in the book depository is not suspicious. Without a lot more resolution than it sounds like this technology provides, you wouldn't be able to tell a sniper from anyone else.

      Sure, there might be some cases where it would work, such as when the sniper is someplace that no one should be, but thinking about most assasinations by sniper, the sniper is usually someplace where you'd expect to find people.

  • by Skyshadow (508) * on Friday July 02, 2004 @11:50AM (#9593218) Homepage
    C'mon, invasion of privacy? What is this, 1999 all over again? Didn't you get the memo? You can *trust* the government these days -- it's not like our leaders are so untrustworthy anymore that they might get a blowjob or two. That's why you won't be needing those pesky rights to free speech [baltimorechronicle.com] or due process [wikipedia.org] anymore.

    Seriously, this sort of thing might be great for our soldiers in the field, and in my little optimistic heart I'd really like to think that something like this could exist in our country without being abused by the "Total Law Enforcement" crowd. I mean, the US *should* be able to operate that way, what with having Constitutional protections and all that.

    Given what's been going on recently, however, it seems like only a matter of time before somebody justifies [epic.org] using it on Americans on the grounds of terrorism prevention (after which, of course, everything will become terrorism of one kind or another). I mean, the USA is suddenly in the business of above-the-law prison camps [cbsnews.com], war without end and other awful little things like abusing the prisoner (in a non-masterbatory context), and all it took to get us to this point was the deaths of 3000 Americans.

    Does anyone really doubt that looking through the walls of people's homes will be next?

    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:02PM (#9593381) Journal
      You modded this funny, but just wait till the police get their hands on this and start busting highschool and college parties. Think of the next generation. Think of the children. No more underage drinking, no more makeout sessions at the movies... what about when your mom gets one of these and catches you jerking off in the basement from outside the house. Yea, that's when the /. crowd will start saying "ummm... maybe this wasn't so cool"
      • IIRC, SCOTUS ruled that police couldn't use thermal sensors (without a warrant) to bust pot growers.

        I believe they used the "Reasonable Expectation of Privacy" argument.
        • by afidel (530433) on Friday July 02, 2004 @02:27PM (#9594856)
          Actually in Kyllo v. U.S. SCOTUS made a VERY broad generalization not at all a specific ruling on thermal imaging.

          Held: Where, as here, the Government uses a device that is not in general public use, to explore details of a private home that would previously have been unknowable without physical intrusion, the surveillance is a Fourth Amendment "search," and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant.
          linky [mindcontrolforums.com]
    • I think you forgot a link:
      Given what's been going on recently, however, it seems like only a matter of time before somebody [usdoj.gov] justifies using it on Americans on the grounds of terrorism prevention.
      I'm born, raised, and currently live in Missouri. I loathe that man.
    • > Does anyone really doubt that looking through the walls of people's homes will be next?

      "GODDAMNIT! Wallh4x0r1ng c4mp1ng p1gz!"
      - Last words of your neighborhood crack/meth dealer after stakeout and resulting pwn4ge.

      (Liberals: Feel free to substitute "militia/gun nut" for "crack/meth dealer".)

    • Yeah, let's forbid this technology because it might compromise our privacy.

      Also, let's forbid P2P file sharing because it might allow people to download music and movies and games without paying for them.

      *rolls eyes*
    • by maximilln (654768) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:08PM (#9593464) Homepage Journal
      Typically I like to run against the government grain simply because I don't believe Big Brother is a good concept. Overhead always causes problems: greed, graft, bribes, special interests, unaccountability. Ask the Soviet Union about it. Ask Afghanistan about it. Ask Cuba about it. Heck, ask Saddam Hussein about it. I'm sure he'll gladly point out that any overhead power is a ripe field for exploitation.

      So we have this ping-pong match of people who hold the government in dreamy-eyed awe and people who see only the ill uses of governmental power. Somewhere in between lies the truth. Sometimes Big Brother gets it right, sometimes Big Brother gets it for himself. The only real way to eliminate the problem is to turn Big Brother into little Brother or even microscopic Brother. That's a fine and dandy solution but Big Brother writes too many paychecks, makes too many people feel warm fuzzy and comfortable, and keeps too many bankers and politicians living a very easy luxurious life.

      As for prisoner abuse that's a touchy subject. I've heard that some of the fellows who were stacked up on each other were being disciplined for attempting to start an exercise yard riot. Some of the people who were blindfolded and threatened with dogs were guilty of assaulting prison guards or officials. Certainly there are some legitimate cases of abuse but, all in all, every society has it. The Taliban had it, it happens in Paris and Amsterdam, the British _definitely_ have some neat B&D equipment, and American civilian police are caught abusing and bullying citizens all the time.

      There is the hypocrisy to address. Well, crap, that's just part of life. I don't like it anymore than anyone else. The US likes to strut around the world and point fingers and meddle in affairs and tell everyone else how to run their nations when, in all reality, the US gov't isn't doing such a hot, fair, honest, or kind job within its own borders. Once again it's the Big Brother syndrome. The only way to fix it is to turn Big Brother into little Brother or even microscopic Brother. And, again, there are too many paychecks, too many leeches, too many bleeding hearts (who don't have what it takes to do something on their own but like to bleed with someone else's money), and too many comfortable and wealthy politicians, bankers, brokers, and attorneys.

      So what of this "see through walls" technology? What if it is used by the local police someday to scan each and every house as they drive slowly down the block? Unless we can fix the Big Brother problem there's absolutely no sense in working yourself into a froth over the obligatory abuses that come from Big Brother.

      Personally I'd like to get rid of Big Brother. I'm an advocate of small efficient government just like I'm an advocate of small efficient software. But just like Microsoft, Big Brother has a monopoly on the field and plenty of loyal (or at least contractually trapped) followers.
    • by Alan Cox (27532) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:11PM (#9593491) Homepage
      It seems odd to me that the same people who can follow that the DMCA is problematic because it bans the tools not the abuses of the tools can't make the connection when its non-computing related.

      Peering through neighbours walls (with this technology or drilling peepholes) is the offence. Would you argue that drills should be regulated because they could be used this way ?

      If anything the main reason to regulate it is likely to be because long exposures to low levels of radio frequency radiation seems to do bad things to human beings so operating one might require training, care and exposure limits.

      I'd also disagree its just a military tool. It has clear civilian usages including earthquake searches (because it can visualise spaces not just people so gives more info) and even boring stuff like inspecting buildings. Having had a large hole hacked in my house to see if a crack was structural I can certainly appreciate the civilian value of having tools to inspect it effectively without the mess, and the dust, and the redecorating.

  • saw it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by reluctantengineer (557965) on Friday July 02, 2004 @11:50AM (#9593219)
    I saw a demo of this at FPED [fped5.org] '03, I was marginally impressed. The resolution is no where near what they lead you to believe.
  • Radarvision Camero (Score:5, Informative)

    by CommanderData (782739) * <kevinhi@yahoo . c om> on Friday July 02, 2004 @11:50AM (#9593224)
    Note that the small Israeli company mentioned above is not Radarvison/Time Domain. Radarvision is based out of Huntsville Alabama.

    The Israeli company is called Camero and the product they are developing is superior to the Radarvision product as you don't need to hold it up to a wall. It can be used up to 20 meters away from a wall, and will give more detail on the items/activity behind the wall...

    Camero does not appear to have a web site, as far as I could find in my brief googling.
  • Dreams do come true. I'll take four of them. One for the condo, one for the store, one for work, one for the truck.

    Although, if a P4 is a weapon, this thing is the bomb!
  • Behind walls eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EvilTwinSkippy (112490) <yoda AT etoyoc DOT com> on Friday July 02, 2004 @11:51AM (#9593230) Homepage Journal
    Well what kind of walls? Drywall? Brick? Craypaper?

    The material the wall is made out of has a marked impact on the permeability of EM waves. And the frequency you select to get through the wall may pass straight through your intended target of viewing as well.

    • Note that the RadarVision website (a different company than the one mentioned in the article, but a similar product) explicitly says that their radar cannot penetrate metal or metal-coated objects. This is no surprise; I'm sure the Camero system has the same limitation. EM waves don't like electrically conductive materials. So that tinfoil hat can be applied to the wall if you don't want them snooping on you (whoever "they" are).
      • You could actually look for the houses with the tinfoil.

        Weakling:
        Captain, of the 65 houses we scanned yesterday with the nondescript van, these two had some sort of shielding.

        Gruffo:
        "Obviously they have somehting to hide. Send your best team and put cameras in every room."

        Weakling:
        "What about a warrant, Sir?"

        Gruffo:
        "We'll get it. There's reason to believe these people are terrorists trying to build a dirty bomb..."

        Weakling:
        "Yes Sir!"
        (snaps his heels sharply and salutes)
    • Brick walls (Score:3, Informative)

      by artemis67 (93453)
      Go to the site and download the video, the demonstration is using a brick wall.
    • Probably glass walls.
    • Re:Behind walls eh? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ka9dgx (72702) *
      My parent's house has tin foil backing on the insulation. It also has an layer of foam insulation with foil backing on both sides, on the exterior, under the siding. This thing would NEVER see through the faraday cage this inadvertantly creates.

      Also, most older buildings have steel mesh with plaster on them as a wall surface. It's frustrated quite a few hospital WiFi projects.

  • by angst7 (62954)
    Prepare for a whole new style of Vouyer Dorm.

    Woooo
  • Now there will be a great market for a new sort of radar detector. Not to mention that stealth wallpaper mentioned here a few days ago. Tinfoil company stocks sound like a great buy, too.

    "Do the Right Thing. It will gratify some people and astound the rest." - Mark Twain
  • This is so much better than X-Ray vision!
  • Aluminium Foil (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mbone (558574) on Friday July 02, 2004 @11:53AM (#9593263)
    Can't see through aluminium foil, if it is truly Al.

    My guess is that within 10 years we will see new homes / apartments boasting of how they form Faraday cages, to prevent all kinds of remote monitoring.
  • by stoneymonster (668767) on Friday July 02, 2004 @11:53AM (#9593264) Homepage
    the Department of Homeland Security advises citizens to stop using walls.
  • Now someone just needs to invent Minovsky Particles, and we'll be set.
  • WorldNetDaily?!?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by sakusha (441986) on Friday July 02, 2004 @11:54AM (#9593283)
    Take this story with a huge grain of salt. WND is not a very reliable news source. It's right up there with NewsMax and Washington Times as lunatic fringe pseudojournalism.
    • Take this story with a huge grain of salt. WND is not a very reliable news source. It's right up there with NewsMax and Washington Times as lunatic fringe pseudojournalism.

      Right; be sure to check with FrontLine, The Nation and Xinhua first ...

    • Re:WorldNetDaily?!?! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by blincoln (592401) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:18PM (#9593564) Homepage Journal
      No kidding. I love some of the headlines on their main page:

      Filth, fraud, fascism: Exposing 'The Party of Treason' - How Democrats corrupt morals, steal elections, aid enemies

      Moore's film gets rave - from Communists -Stalinist Reds love 'Fahrenheit 9/11,' Maoists love it, too

      Divine intervention sought in presidential race - Get FREE copy of 'We Will Pray for Election Day' blockbuster

      The role of Iraq, Israel, USA in Bible prophecy - Limited time, get Michael Evans' stunning bestseller 'Beyond Iraq' FREE!

      Somehow I think I'll wait for independent confirmation of this "breakthrough." Especially since I routinely see articles proclaiming that Israeli scientists have invented everything from cold fusion to FTL drives and yet they somehow always fail to materialize in commercial form.
  • Walls... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eli173 (125690) on Friday July 02, 2004 @11:55AM (#9593287)
    Just as long as it lets me see where this pipe/conduit/wire goes in my wall. (And where the studs are...)

    Or looky here, we've got termites in this wall.

    So when does the hand-held consumer version of this come out?
    • No. (Score:3, Informative)

      Its a motion sensor. (The idea is even if you are "standing still" you move very subtly, and the radar can pick it up.) It aint going to help you find studs.
  • Interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by arieswind (789699) * on Friday July 02, 2004 @11:55AM (#9593289) Homepage
    New technology is quite amazing..

    I can see it being used when the military is doing raids on houses, bunkers, etc. They can see how many people are in the room and where they are, so they can come in gunning and not take so many casualties.

    Another use might be that when they are searching houses for weapons and stuff, they can see into the rooms before hand.

    But, like other technology of this nature, it opens limitless possiblities for abuse, so the government will have to keep a cloe eye on how it is used
  • Two meters!

    That's impossible, that's inside the damn room!
  • I wonder... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Patris_Magnus (771993)
    What the radiation exposure to people on the other side of the wall would be. Operators of this type of equipment rarely understand the implications of its use. Just ask your xray tech what your equivalent whole body dose will be next time you get a chest xray.
  • by a7244270 (592043) on Friday July 02, 2004 @11:57AM (#9593323) Homepage Journal

    Its been a while since I've done any RF, but theres some things in that article that are a little bit, odd, to say the least.

    Camero developed a certain kind of ultra radio wave that can be emitted to generate a high-definition image and also invented the technology that allows the enhanced wave to pass through virtually any wall.

    How exactly does one develop a "certain kind of ultra wadio wave", and how does one "allow it to pass through any wall". Perhaps they have a valid technology, but the person who translated this to layman's terms should be shot for creating a document that makes it sound like the company is selling smoke and mirrors.

    Actually, the part of the article that I found most interesting was

    ...an Israeli security source told WND that Israel recently developed proprietary technology that can discreetly put an electronic field around a building or area that gives users the ability to monitor and control every electronic emission within that field, from electronic can openers to fax machines, computers and cell phones.

    Seeing inside a room is one thing, but realistically, the potential for invasion of privacy is much larger with the wiretap field.

  • Wasn't there a video card driver hack that somebody was going to release some time back, that would allow you to see through walls?

    But seriously, I can see this as being useful for hostage situations, terrorist takedowns, etc. Scan the room through the wall, ID the bad guys, and use depleted uranium rounds to penetrate the walls, and them out without hitting any hostages.

  • Can it see through clothing, and will they have a version that will look like normal pair glasses? I'll only be using it for educational purposes, of course.
  • Wall-hacks (Score:5, Funny)

    by nharmon (97591) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:01PM (#9593363) Homepage
    Next thing you know, the gamers will want devices to let them see through walls.
  • by El Bromo (663141)
    These are exactly the types of technologies that will be needed to fight the multifaceted wars the US armed forces will find itself fighting in the next two decades. Urban warfare is a mode of fighting that has haunted armies for a couple hundred years now, and not very many improvments on the weaponry front have come along to *seriously* enhance an army's capability to fight in an urban setting. Modern communications, guns that can shoot around corners, and radar that can see through walls all help, but it
    • Urban warfare is a mode of fighting that has haunted armies for a couple hundred years now

      Actually, urban warfare has haunted armies since the days Sun Tzu. Hence his famous quote:

      "The worst policy is to attack cities. Attack cities only when there is no alternative." --Sun Tzu, The Art of War

      It's also interesting to see how military doctrine has fundamentally changed since world war 2. During WW2, civilians were legitimate military targets. The best way to take an enemy city was to bomb it to heck, a
  • Fortunately.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Vancouverite (227795) <brendt.hess@mo[ ]port.com ['tos' in gap]> on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:05PM (#9593418)
    ...there have been court decisions that would affect using this without either an 'active situation' (hostages, &c) or a court order. There was a case in Oregon where police were using passive IR monitoring to generate enough information on a potential pot growing operation inside a house. Their subsequent raid / arrest was thrown out as a violation of privacy. Somehow, I can't see *active* methods of surveillance being any less monitored.

    What?

    Did I hear someone in the audience mutter "Patriot Act"?
  • Two words: (Score:2, Informative)

    by Etyenne (4915)

    Faraday Cage [wikipedia.org]

    Now, what is the wavelength of these ultra-wideband thingy ?

  • Can this technology be used like a CT scans and MRIs? If it can provide images "which reportedly resemble those produced by ultrasound" that "are relatively high-resolution", then perhaps it could be used this way.
  • by Eneff (96967) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:13PM (#9593524)
    that would love this one.

    The Diary of Anne Frank would have been a lot shorter, though.
  • Radar Units (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geomon (78680) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:25PM (#9593639) Homepage Journal
    I use one quite a bit. The ground-penetrating radar is probably not much different than this device in physical principles. That means it is subject to the same problems as my GPR:

    1) high clay content can wash out any signal,
    2) metallic objects (aluminum foil has been mentioned) can render the device useless, and
    3) too many objects can interfere.

    There have been numerous examples posted here where you just spring a few moving decoys around the building and now the operator on the outside has just as much valuable information as they had without the $20KUSD device attached to their arm.

    This thing is a boat anchor.

  • rejected (Score:3, Insightful)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:28PM (#9593665) Homepage Journal
    It looks like everything that is interesting today is about small Israelly companies. [mobileye.com] (story was rejected on submission.) I wonder why these guys did not participate in the DARPA Grand Challenge?

  • by pdmoderator (63509) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:35PM (#9593756)
    Shortly after 9/11, we were looking at it for firefighter communications within buildings. Radar applications for locating victims were mentioned. I also learned that the spooks had had the technology for at least fifteen years before that.

    As often happens, it's just now making its slow way onto the civilian market.

  • by Junior Samples (550792) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:37PM (#9593790)

    This article certainly lacks any technical details, but it sounds like the device may use a form of Terahertz imaging. This is the region of electromagnetic spectrum between microwave and infrared (0.1 GHz to >2 THz).

    There has been a lot of recent activity involving Terahertz Imaging for medical and surveillance applications. TeraHertz Imaging [google.com]

  • by Phurd Phlegm (241627) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:38PM (#9593805)
    . . . that X-ray glasses technology can be made workable.

    Now, will they be able to sell it for $3.98 through the back of comic books?

  • by MalikChen (736716) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:47PM (#9593912)
    Sure, the polics can use this technology to see through your walls and see if you are doing something illegal, but it probably won't be admissable in an American court.

    There was a case in which police used infrared scanners to see how hot/bright it was inside a house that they suspected having marijuana plants growing inside. When it came to trial, the attorney argued that because the police had no warrant to search the house, it was an illegal search. IIRC, the judge ruled that it was a violation of search and seizure laws. It's a good precedent, and because it sends out waves to spy (as opposed to passive scanning like the infrared did), it's even more invasive.

    So, just get a good lawyer [aclu.org], and you should be set. That is, in theory.
  • Another project (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:57PM (#9594012)
    There's a group in my graduating electrical engineering class that did their undergrad design project on something similar, Design, Construction, and Testing of a Microwave Radar System for Through-Wall Surveillance [umanitoba.ca]. It uses 1 - 3 GHz microwave frequencies and some pretty straightforward electronics to provide signals to a computer, which does the image resolution. I was able to see a first-hand demonstration of it, and it's impressive for an undergrad project! Just in case you thought this "New radar" in the article is revolutionary or something.
  • by Trogre (513942) on Friday July 02, 2004 @06:35PM (#9596694) Homepage
    ... I want one of these so I can trace thepaths of cables and pipes inside my friggin walls!

  • by matdodgson (203405) on Friday July 02, 2004 @09:06PM (#9597350)
    This thing comes from Israel - meaning it was designed to make killing Palestinians easier.

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