X-ray glasses it is not. But a new project from MIT is an important step toward “seeing” through walls. The as-yet-nameless device allows radar to penetrate concrete walls up to 8 inches, according to a demonstration. Who will use such a thing? The military, of course. “Our objective is to aid the urban warfighter to assist his situational awareness,” says Gregory Charvat, a technical staff member at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory.
You don’t exactly get a clear picture from the system. Instead, the display looks something like a heat map. MIT News explains:
The system digitizes the signals it receives into video. Currently, humans show up as “blobs” that move about the screen in a bird’s-eye-view perspective, as if the viewer were standing on the wall and looking down at the scene behind. The researchers are currently working on algorithms that will automatically convert a blob into a clean symbol to make the system more end-user friendly. “To understand the blobs requires a lot of extra training,” Charvat says.
Watch a demonstration below.
Though it is clearly still in the early stages, such a tool could be an enormous boon to members of the military when trying to find suspects or locate missing people. But technology often makes travels from from the battle field to domestic law enforcement, where policy matters get trickier. In 2001, the Supreme Court ruled in Kyllo v United States that using a thermal sensor to examine a suspect’s home constituted a search and would therefore require a warrant. Would “seeing” through walls be held to the same standard?
Read more at MIT News.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Right Target
Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.
The NFL Has No Business Punishing Players for Off-Field Conduct. Leave That to the Teams.
Meet the Allies the U.S. Won’t Admit It Needs in Its Fight Against ISIS
I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights
Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.
Should You Recline Your Seat? Two Economists Weigh In.
How to Stop Ebola
Survivors might be immune. Let’s recruit them to care for the infected.
- School District Wants to Censor American History Curriculum to Make It More Patriotic
- U.S. Federal Prison Population Drops for the First Time in Decades
- Conservative Star D’Souza Avoids Jail Time for Illegal Campaign Contributions
- Moderate Chinese Intellectual Sentenced to Life in Prison After Show Trial
America in Africa
The tragic, misunderstood history of Liberia—and why the United States has a special obligation to help it fight the Ebola epidemic.