WASHINGTON — Using an advanced radar, experts at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory developed ways to detect subtle vibration changes in moving targets.
Sensing vibrations with a millimeter wave radar essentially gives radar operators the ability to “hear” what a target is doing.
“We’ve taken vibration sensing and what we are effectively able to do now is use it as a remote sensing technique for radar. You don’t have to be close and things don’t have to be still,” said Christopher Rodenbeck, electrical engineer in NRL’s Radar Division. “For example, many people, both military and civilian, use radar to take SAR (synthetic-aperture radar) images of the ground from space. Now we can add sound as another dimension and know what sound an object in the image is making.”
Millimeter wave radar uses electromagnetic waves between one and 10 millimeters with radio frequencies between 30 and 300 gigahertz, and has inherently high accuracy and resolution. The lower power system Rodenbeck’s team used is capable of detecting a one square meter target approximately 10 kilometers away.