British engineers have taken inspiration from dolphins for a new type of radar device that could track miners trapped underground or skiers buried in an avalanche.
The device sends out two pulses in quick succession to allow for a targeted search for semiconductor devices, cancelling any background ”noise”.
Study co-author Timothy Leighton, of the University of Southampton’s engineering faculty, said that the device was able to pick up roadside bombs, bugging devices or mobile phones, even in areas with a lot of metal ”clutter”.
The team also built a small, cheap tracker that can be placed in the helmet of a miner or search and rescue worker or even a skier’s boots and found with their device, Professor Leighton said.
”I was thinking to myself that dolphins should not be able to see fish with their sonar in these bubble clouds unless they are doing something very clever that man-made sonar cannot,” Professor Leighton said.
He built a radar system that sends out pulses in pairs, with the second having the reverse polarity of the first.
”If it hits a semiconductor device, then it takes that pulse of a negative polarity and turns it into a positive polarity. It makes everything positive … so you get a very strong signal.”
Read article at The Age