Fighting terror beyond limits of human eyesight

Security conference focuses on electromagnetic radiation.

security guard 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
security guard 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
In the future, law enforcement officials could identify and eliminate an approaching suicide bomber from several meters away, or rely on smart cameras to detect and point out suspicious movements, a security conference at the Ariel University Center of Samaria heard on Thursday. The key technology underlying these innovations is the use of electromagnetic radiation, which allows security officials to literally see beyond the limitations of human eyesight, Professor Yossi Pinhasi, the conference chairman, told The Jerusalem Post. Eyesight relies on visible light bouncing off surfaces, but other frequencies in the electromagnetic spectrum can penetrate clothes and walls, which has major implications for the future of hi-tech security solutions, Pinhasi said. "Today, a security guard standing at the entrance to a shopping center has to approach an individual to check him. He has to practically hug you to scan you with the detector," Pinhasi said. "What we want is to identify the terrorist before he enters the shopping center or the airport, and this can only be achieved through remote sensing," he said. "Certain frequencies allow you to see concealed weapons or explosives, and many of the lectures today are on this [subject]," he added. One of the most striking discoveries discussed at the conference was introduced by Professor Yuri Feldman, a physicist from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who has stumbled across a new set of sensors in human skin, located mainly in sweat ducts, which respond to very high radio frequencies. Feldman defined the frequency as being "higher than microwaves but lower than infrared waves," and suggested that it is possible to utilize these receptors to gain a remote view of a person's physiological and emotional state, an innovation which, if realized, has "obvious implications for homeland security." "We have proved a whole new level of sensitivity in the human body," Feldman told the Post. While emphasizing that he was at the beginning stage of research, the physicist proposed directing the high frequency radio waves at an individual, which would result in the newly found skin sensors reflecting back information on one's pulse and blood pressure, providing telltale indications of a person's mental condition or level of anxiety. "Our vision is that this method can be developed to the level of viability similar to that of the magnetometer gate that is widely used for metal detection," Feldman said during his lecture. Dr. Nathan Weiss, of Elta Systems in Ashdod, said his company was working on a new radar device which can detect concealed weapons. Other scientists discussed ways to allow missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles to track and destroy a moving target.