Using technology to detect hidden threats

phys.org | 2/9/2018 | Staff
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Soldiers in combat have to constantly scan their surroundings for improvised explosive devices (IEDs), a signature weapon of modern warfare. These homemade bombs are often hidden—nestled in bushes, buried underground, or sometimes stuffed inside other objects.

Now, a research group at the University of Delaware is developing technology to detect explosive devices from a distance. Chandra Kambhamettu, professor of computer and information sciences and director of the Video/Image Modeling and Synthesis (VIMS) Lab, has received a five-year, $1M grant from the U.S. Army Research Office for this project. This work is in collaboration with a team of research scientists from Army Research Lab, Kelly Sherbondy, Brian Phelan, Getachew Kirose, Gregory Smith, John Clark, and Arthur Harrison.

Landmines - Devices - IEDs - Homemade - Bombs

Landmines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and other homemade bombs struck 6,461 people worldwide in 2015, killing at least 1,672, according to a report by the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines and Cluster Munition Coalition.

Survivors are often left with devastating injuries. In a study published in BMJ Open, 70 percent of people hit by IEDS in Afghanistan required multiple amputations.

Soldiers - Weapons - Researchers - Technology - Hazards

To keep soldiers away from these deadly weapons, researchers are developing technology that can spot explosive hazards precisely and from a safe distance. Kambhamettu and Philip Saponaro, a post-doctoral fellow, are creating an augmented reality system that will use traditional cameras, thermal infrared sensing and ground penetrating radar to find and classify potentially dangerous objects from up to 30 meters away.

The technologies complement each other. Regular cameras collect visible light, while infrared cameras detect heat and are unaffected by light, making them ideal for nighttime use, foggy conditions, and dust storms. The system's radar uses radio waves to probe the surrounding environment.

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