Cougar 20-H surveillance robot

that sees through walls

and detects breathing up to 300 foot

By Darren Quick

21:59 February 6, 2011

The Cougar20-H is a remote-controlled surveillance robot that is so sensitive it can not only detect motion through walls but, to ensure no one goes unnoticed, it can also detect the breathing of a stationary person. Packing a fine beam ultra-wideband (UWB), multi-Gigahertz radio frequency (RF) sensor array as well as multiple integrated cameras for day and night time visibility, the Cougar20-H was designed by surveillance imaging specialist TiaLinx to provide improved situational awareness to soldiers while keeping them out of harm’s way.

The lightweight and agile robot travels on caterpillar tracks and is remotely controlled via a laptop that can be located more than 300 feet (91 m) away. An RF scanner mounted on the robot’s lightweight arm transmits highly directional wideband signals that are able to penetrate reinforced concrete walls at an extended range. Reflections from the targets are captured by a signal detector circuit in the receiver and amplitude and delay information is then processed in an integrated signal processor to track the targets in real time.

“Cougar20-H has the capability to sense-through-the-wall (STTW) at farther distances than Cougar10-L that was launched last month,” said Dr. Fred Mohamadi, Founder and CEO of TiaLinx. “Cougar20-H can also be remotely programmed at multiple way points to scan the desired premise in a multi-story building and provide its layout. In contrast only Cougar10-L is capable of scanning a premise horizontally for unexploded ordnance (UXO) as well as vertically to STTW.”

TiaLinx developed the Cougar20-H’s real-time UWB RF Imaging technology with funding from the U.S. Army. In addition to military applications, the robot, which ships next month, could also allow law enforcement agencies to detect potential targets within buildings or allow firefighters to locate people inside burning buildings.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Sounds in the earth may predict avalanches

GENEVA, Switzerland (UPI) — Forecasting avalanches may be possible by listening for increases of icequakes and their distinctive sounds, Swiss researchers say.

Geologists listening in on the groan and creak of icequakes — cracking inside frozen soil or rock containing water or ice — have developed a model that can predict a collapse up to 15 days before it happens, reported Friday.

To find early warning signs of an avalanche, scientists in Switzerland placed seismic instruments on a glacier on the northeast face of the Weisshorn, a mountain in the Swiss Alps that towers over the village of Randa, 8,200 feet below. Avalanches on the Weisshorn have claimed 51 lives since the 17th century.

In 2003 researchers froze a special microphone called a geophone into the glacier to pick up seismic vibrations.

Two weeks before the glacier split in 2005, researchers detected changes in the sounds picked up by the microphone.

“As you approach rupture, you hear more sounds,” geologist Jerome Faillettaz says. “It’s just like if you break a pen or a cracker. You hear some small noise before it breaks.”

By combining observations of a glacier’s slow movement with the sounds of the icequakes, the researchers say they can detect a rupture 15 days in advance.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha