Researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for FHR are developing new 3D image suit
12 January 2016
Researchers at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques (FHR) are developing a new 3D imaging suite to help assess the dangers of suspicious packages and suitcase bombs. The system uses a variety of tools to record 3D images of the contents and shape of the luggage as well as of the surrounding area. These include a millimetre wave scanner, a high-resolution digital camera, and a 3D environment monitoring system. The wave scanner can penetrate the package to provide internal images, while the camera and 3D imager allow for enhanced assessment of the external surroundings. All three tools are housed in a module which can be mounted to a robot, enabling bomb disposal engineers to maintain a safe distance. A computer onboard the robot collects the data and sends it to the investigators. “Up to now our techniques have not allowed us to form a 3D outline of suitcase bombs, and it has been impossible – or only partially possible – to make a spatial map of the contents,” said Stefan Lang, team leader at the FHR and the project’s coordinator. “With the sensor suite we can visualize in three dimensions what’s inside a luggage item, and so determine the composition of the bomb and how the parts are arranged in the luggage.” The team hopes to have a demonstrator module ready by April 2016, with field-testing scheduled to begin in 2017.