X-ray specs become science fact

Soldiers and rescue workers could soon be using next generation technology to see through walls.

Scientists at Cambridge Consultants Ltd - a UK-based independent technology company - have developed a groundbreaking radar device that works like a pair of X-ray specs.

This could mean police raiding a house would be able to see who was inside before they went in and rescue workers could tell if disaster victims were still alive under fallen rubble.

From fiction to fact
James Bond had X-ray specs in The World is Not Enough and Superman has been looking through walls for years but the technology is now moving rapidly from fantasy to reality.

The successful testing of a prototype unit saw the company celebrating after more than three years of blood, sweat and tears researching the technology.

If further tests are successful then military personnel could be trying out X-ray vision within weeks.

Gordon Oswald, associate director of CCL, said: “We are working with military organisations at the moment and we need to get the exact specifications about what they need but I think things could move very fast if everything goes well.”

Military experts said the apparatus could have been invaluable in the war with Iraq and may save many lives in the future.

The radical equipment can see through walls quarter of a metre thick and is being engineered to have a 25-meter range.

Mobile spy kit

A handy portable version will be no bigger than a laptop computer, powered by a simple battery and will survive in the harshest of conditions.

Oswald said: “This radar delivers the kind of high-level location information that could really tip the balance in favour of rescuers in a broad range of time-critical situations, like the aftermath of an earthquake or explosion, or a hostage situation.”

The system transmits low frequency radar pulses that pass through walls and builds up a picture that can detect objects and movements.

Oswald said: “The radar pulse goes through the wall and reflects off the objects that are there before bouncing back through the wall to the unit.”

CCL has also produced software that lets users see a 3-D picture that shows whether objects are static or moving.

Oswald said: “We think we are the first company in the world to provide 3-D mapping.

“It’s not a picture in the traditional sense as the information appears on the screen in the form of icons.

“You can’t actually see who the person is but you can see them moving around and where they are in the room.

It could prove to be a valuable tool to the military or to rescue organisations.”

No snooping

Nosy neighbours and suspicious husbands won’t get the chance to use the technology to satisfy their spying urges.

Oswald said: “It’s not a consumer product and it won’t be available to the general public.

“It’s a professional product and they will only be produced in small numbers and will cost thousands of pounds each.”