Cardiff University astrophysicists have developed a new heat-sensing camera that helps spot people and animals in the back of moving trucks and lorries.
Marketed by Sequestim – a joint venture between QMC Instruments Ltd and Cardiff University – the new camera works by using extremely accurate sensors originally designed to map distant stars.
It can detect minute changes in radiation and heat, and this makes it useful for thwarting terrorist attacks, kidnappings and trafficking.
According to Cardiff’s scientists, the camera uses ‘kinetic inductance detectors’ that helps it detect the equivalent of the heat of a 100-watt lightbulb at a distance of half a million miles – twice the distance of the moon from Earth.
Moreover. an image taken by the Sequestim device of a truck moving past a sensor at speeds up to 100 mph, was able to clearly identify the shapes of figures concealed in the rear of the vehicle.
The technology, pioneered by Cardiff’s School of Physics and Astronomy, could be installed at ferry ports globally, helping speed up checks.
It could also be used in airport scanners that enable travelers to walk through security without pausing or requiring the removal of clothing or metal objects.
The technology enables at least four times the throughput of travelers through security checks, delivering vast improvements in airport efficiency, cost savings and higher levels of traveler satisfaction.
The Sequestim technology could also find its way into business receptions, banks, public transport hubs, sports stadia and at festivals.
“The market for this technology is enormous and there are hundreds of potential applications,” intones Sequestim CEO Paul Simmons.
“We are in talks with customers and potential investors at the moment. Now that we have working and proven prototypes, we’re aiming to start shipping the first units to customers in 2020.”
According to the university, the new technology is compliant with procedures and protocols centering around identity protection.
Image and content: Cardiff University