mum | 29.01.2007 10:51 | Technology
Although developed in the US a lot of the development work is being done in the UK and of course is going to be the most widely implemented in the UK since we are all enemies of the state. The relevant patents are held by or developed for the Secretary of State for Defence but the lamppost beacons are being implemented by The National Roads Telecommunications Services Project for the Department of Transport.
Here is the best non-technical summary of the technology:
And here are some of the developers of the technology even Orwell never forsaw:
Passive millimetre wave systems have the ability to generate imagery from the natural energy emitted and reflected by the environment so these systems are particularly attractive as scanning/detecting technology. Millimetre waves have the ability to penetrate clothing and can be used to detect concealed objects such as guns or knives. On a larger scale, MMW scanners such as the BorderWatchTM1000 series can be used to see through the canvas sides of a lorry in locations such as the entrance to the Channel Tunnel. Passive millimetre wave imaging can also be used to image through poor weather. In foggy weather MMW scanners can give a clear outline of the lie of the land, giving strategic advantages in defence applications.
The QinetiQ system can operate covertly or overtly and provides a clear and comprehensive picture of the subject in real-time. A passenger need never know that they have been scanned. There is therefore no disruption or time consuming check.
"Omnidirectional Antenna", UK 9602395.7, Inventors: Duncan A. Robertson & Peter B. May, Registered to: The Secretary of State for Defence, Filed 6/2/96.
The larger version of the device, about the size of a shoebox, can be mounted on a patrol car, displaying the image on a monitor inside the vehicle. The smaller, battery-operated version is hand-held, like a radar gun.
Plans to test the device on the streets are in full swing, despite the serious Constitutional issues of illegal search and seizure. Police must have reasonable suspicion to justify frisking a subject; the Millimetrix device is designed for efficient mass surveillance. A police officer can aim the hand-held unit into a crowd up to 90 feet away.
The device can even be used outside a room to scan individuals inside. But don't worry -- Millimetrix points out that although the imager can see through clothing, it still leaves citizens "some privacy" and "does not reveal intimate anatomical details of the person."
Tony McEnroe, managing director of Farran Technology, said: "This new system is based on advanced microwave technology that Farran, now part of the Smith Group, has developed for space systems.
"We developed the knowledge and skills while designing and packaging millimetre-wave devices for ESA (European space Agency) projects. By integrating a novel scanning technology we have achieved a unique system for detecting and imaging items for security applications."
The Tadar could also be used to scan areas of up to 50 metres to search groups of people, even seeing through fog, and produce three dimensional images.