Microwave Camera for Detecting Hidden Objects

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The Challenge

Our client, the Department for Transport (DfT), awarded Plextek with the Transport Technology Research and Innovation Grant (T-TRIG) to conduct a research study into the improvement of aviation security and screening procedures at airport checkpoints.

Objects concealed on a person or in luggage remain a threat in all public places but especially in airports. Methods currently used to image people and hand luggage, such as x-ray and terahertz systems, typically require subjects to be stationary and cooperative.

This leaves a wide range of trade-offs including equipment cost, measurement speed, screening safety and passenger congestion and discrimination.

The Approach

Plextek proposed a Microwave Camera, capable of real-time detection imaging of hidden objects, with a non-intrusive implementation approach.

Microwaves, due to the low frequency, are intrinsically safe to pass through the body and can characterise and discriminate a range of materials, including explosive devices and weapons.

A parabolic reflector enables a system of significantly lower cost compared to existing large-area sensing arrays. Technical modelling and analysis were then implemented to calibrate the reflector to receive real-time imaging. Capable of imaging people at 2-4 metre distances, this architecture can allow the scanning of people walking towards it in a ‘free flow’ passenger channel.

The Outcome

Our solution provides a safe, low cost, a fast alternative technology that had to be less intrusive and time-consuming than the current system.

Our solution uses lower frequencies and channels passengers through a corridor, allowing them to walk freely while being scanned by the microwave camera. We think this will reduce error ratings and ease passenger flow.

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Surveillance Radar for Comprehensive Threat Detection

Home » Case Study » Security

The Challenge

Our client, a world leader in providing state-of-the-art perimeter surveillance systems, wanted a radar capable of long-range detection with a low false-alarm rate.

It required the use of standard industrial components across all system parts and be designed for the lightweight, compact & man-portable form factor.

The Approach

Plextek utilised Passive Electronically Scanned Arrays (PESA) for electronic scanning combining Doppler processing.

Using standard industrial parts minimalises manufacturing costs, and the solution was delivered with no moving parts, eliminating the need for routine maintenance.

The Outcome

Our solution was able to detect the presence of moving personnel and vehicles at a range of several kilometres.

The technology is capable of simultaneous target detection for both close and long-range distances, scanning hilltops and valleys without manually tilting the radar.

We also incorporated low radio transmission power to allow for safe human operation. In feedback, our solution fulfilled all our client’s unique requirements.

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Millimetre-Wave Radar for Foreign Object Detection

Our client’s vision was for a low size, weight and power solution that could be easily deployed into the market without compromising high accuracy performance.
- John Doe, Chief Operations Officer, Plextek

The Challenge

Plextek works with large defence contractors on a range of complex hardware programmes and often delays of designing a single module can set back the whole project.

These challenging requirements mean that the appropriate technical expertise is not always widely available, making delays hard to recover from.

Design, manufacturing, test and supply chain resource are all required from the start to allow potential issues to be prevented and a concurrent engineering approach to be taken.

The Approach

We are quick to understand requirements and communicate these between design, project and quality assurance teams, becoming a valuable extension of our client’s design team.

Our specialist manufacturing, test and supply chain engineers are involved from the start of every project. Manufacturing and test plans are then generated to provide a framework essential for robust design and supply.

As an independent company, we select, audit and test suppliers and materials based on evidence not ease.

The Outcome

Selecting the best resource for the requirement or working with existing suppliers, we’re able to share our knowledge of both low and high volume factory test systems to implement a solution that gets results.

We pride ourselves on delivering fully tested production hardware and take the strain of this process off clients by managing on-going issues, such as component obsolesce and changes to environmental legislation.

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