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Proceedings Paper

Passive tracking of targets using electric field sensors
Author(s): S. Beardsmore-Rust; P. B. Stiffell; H. Prance; R. J. Prance; P. Watson
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Paper Abstract

We have reported previously on the use of a novel Electric Potential Sensor, developed and patented at the University of Sussex, for remote monitoring of life signs and through-wall sensing of movement and proximity. In this paper we present the data obtained using a sparse (4-element) array of sensors to image a volume of space for target movements. This is achieved by passive monitoring of the disturbances which result from the movement of a dielectric object through the ambient electric field. Numerical computation is used to simulate the expected sensor responses for a given pattern of movement and comparison with these simulations allows the trajectory to be followed. With this 4-element array, it is possible to track the movement of a single subject, for example an intruder, or the lone occupant of a room. However, with the addition of just a few extra sensors, it is possible to resolve the ambiguities caused by multiple targets. The advantage of this approach over competing technologies such as radar, for through-wall surveillance and tracking, is that the method is passive. It requires no excitation field or probe signal and relies instead on the ambient static electric field which exists between the ionosphere and the surface of the Earth. It therefore only works well if the array is not obstructed by earthed conducting materials, in common with the other technologies. On the other hand, the passive nature of the technique provides a low power system which is potentially undetectable.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 May 2010
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 7666, Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense IX, 766622 (5 May 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.849642
Show Author Affiliations
S. Beardsmore-Rust, Univ. of Sussex (United Kingdom)
P. B. Stiffell, Univ. of Sussex (United Kingdom)
H. Prance, Univ. of Sussex (United Kingdom)
R. J. Prance, Univ. of Sussex (United Kingdom)
P. Watson, Univ. of Sussex (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7666:
Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense IX
Edward M. Carapezza, Editor(s)

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