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ARM Innovation Hub
13 November, 2006 - 22:19 By Staff Reporter

First orders for new 'X-Ray specs' technology

First the 'bat cane,' now technology wizards, Cambridge Consultants have unveiled a new technology that is something akin to the X-Ray specs usually seen in comic books.The prism 200 device encroaches on territory usually associated with science fiction and super heroes, using ultra-wide band (UWB) radar to "see" through walls or rubble to locate people who would otherwise be concealed from view.

Cambridge Consultants says the product could revolutionise tactics for police, special forces and emergency services and reports that a series of orders for the new technology have already been placed.

The prism 200, the prototype for which was field tested and developed with input from specialised law-enforcement and rescue agencies across the globe, has been proven to provide highly valuable intelligence of the sort that would usually prove dangerous or extremely difficult to obtain, Cambridge Consultants said.

"To commercialise this technology, we've talked to the spectrum of potential users and spent over a year refining the hardware and creating a man-machine interface that provides critical intelligence in an intuitive form," said Alan Wiltshire, product manager.

"The result is a 'switch on and go' unit that can instantly deliver high-level location information that helps tip the balance in favour of security operatives in a broad range of dangerous or time-critical situations."

Major developments have been issuing from Cambridge Consultants thick and fast over the past month. In the past four weeks alone it has announced a £10m dedicated fund to finance its spin-outs, and also the launch of an ultra-low cost inhaler aimed at tackling global pandemics.

The prism 200 is briefcase-sized, making it easy to carry and it can be operated with one hand. It is capable of monitoring and tracking the movements of several subjects, with the advanced signal processing required to achieve the feat developed by Cambridge Consultants.

It is capable of differentiating between people and stationary objects, such as furniture or filing cabinets in an office scenario, a problem for a conventional radar system. The position of each subject is very clearly illustrated to the user, with the view changeable from 3D to plan or side elevation on what Cambridge Consultants describes as an easy-to-use display.

Capable of working to distances of up to 20 metres, it provides users such as police and special forces with answers to two key questions which guide their choice of tactics: "Is anyone behind this wall?" and, "What is the pattern of activity inside this building?," according to the firm.

The 'Batcane' was a product designed by the firm to help blind and partially sighted people build a mind map of their environment and so aid independent mobility using echolocation technology.

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