EMBody - Next generation electromagnetic walk by body scanners

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Abstract

The project is structured with three complementary and interdependent aspects, balancing developmental and strategic research work, with corresponding short / long term goals. Each of the three aspects has clearly defined work packages. The first aspect is the use of tomography to enhance the performance of WTMD's by exploiting the coupling between multiple combinations of coils in the array. Present systems generally use only the coupling between dedicated coil pairs and ignore the information available from other coil combinations. Consequently, the detectors suffer from non-uniform sensitivity distribution, typically with the lowest response in the centre of the portal. This limits their discrimination and ability to locate threat objects. By using the information available from multiple coil combinations, using techniques pioneered for EM tomography, it is expected that both discrimination and location of multiple threat objects can be enhanced The second aspect is the incorporation of video as an integral part of the operation of the detector. Of course video could be simply used to provide security staff with more effective visual feedback. However, this aspect is more fundamental as the video data will be processed to determine the position of the subject during passage pass through the detector, talking gait into account. The time sequenced 3D data can then be used as a-priori information to invert the data from the EM tomography sensors using algorithms devised in our earlier pilot study. In simple terms, the signal profile as the subject passes through the portal contains a wealth of presently unused information on the nature and location of the threat object. It is expected that the improved performance will help to radically improve detectability and object location and reduce false positives (e.g. ignoring belt buckles etc.), significantly reducing operator time. New detector configurations will also be investigated, which are made possible by the integrated tomography / video techniques. These configurations will be compatible with existing building furniture/fixtures and so less conspicuous than existing walk through portals. It is hoped that these detectors can be readily disguised for use in public spaces. The ability to screen subjects, without their knowledge, for significant metal objects, whilst highlighted on video, may provide law enforcement authorities with a powerful tool to counter the growing societal problems such as gun and knife crime. The third aspect is the use of RF and microwave frequencies, with UWB techniques. At low frequencies (less than 100 kHz) the response of metallic objects dominates and is the basis of current WTMD's. At frequencies above 1 MHz, conductive body tissues become detectable by virtue of induced eddy currents. These currents tend to flow near the surface of the body and the response becomes dominated by the conductivity of surface layers as the frequency increases. Above 100 MHz, EM wavelengths become comparable to body dimensions and as the frequencies are increased further, wavelengths become comparable to the dimensions of concealed objects giving corresponding spectral signatures. Frequencies in the low GHz can be used to profile objects with near mm resolution whilst being unaffected by clothing.
 
Description This project has made two significant advances:

First we have been able to show that metal objects can be effectively characterised by measuring a fundamental property, termed their electromagnetic polarisability tensor. The property allow metal objects to be effective classified into types and positioned on the body to centimetre resolution.

Second we have shown that ultra wide band microwave radiation can be very effective in detected non-metallic object concealed on the person under clothing.
Exploitation Route To improve security scanning portals for passengers and other personnel.
Sectors Electronics,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

 
Description To improve the design of metal detectors and related security equipment. These findings have been used to device new techniques for sorting metallic scrap and improve industrial in-line metal detectors with our partners at Mettler Toledo Safeline Ltd, helping the company to win the Queens Award for Innovation in 2016
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Electronics,Security and Diplomacy,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description European Union Framework 7
Amount £250,000 (GBP)
Funding ID FP7-SME-2011 Proposal number 286487 
Organisation European Commission 
Department Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2012 
End 06/2014
 
Description European Union Framework 7
Amount £400,000 (GBP)
Funding ID FP7-SME-2011 Proposal 286737 
Organisation European Commission 
Department Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2012 
End 12/2014
 
Description Find a Better Way
Amount £220,151 (GBP)
Funding ID SEMIS 
Organisation Find a Better Way 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description Find a Better Way
Amount £1,000,000 (GBP)
Funding ID SEMIS 
Organisation Find a Better Way 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2011 
End 08/2016
 
Description SHREDDERSORT
Amount € 4,476,092 (EUR)
Funding ID 603676 
Organisation European Union 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2014 
End 12/2016
 
Description Safeline Limited
Amount £65,681 (GBP)
Organisation Mettler Toledo Safeline Ltd 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description Safeline Limited
Amount £35,482 (GBP)
Organisation Mettler Toledo Safeline Ltd 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description Safeline Limited
Amount £65,681 (GBP)
Organisation Mettler Toledo Safeline Ltd 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2011 
End 12/2011
 
Description Safeline Limited
Amount £35,482 (GBP)
Organisation Mettler Toledo Safeline Ltd 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2009 
End 03/2009
 
Description Security monitoring technology 
Organisation Rapiscan Systems
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Pioneered new detection technology based on metal characterisation (for metal threats) and ultra wide band (for non-metallic threats) inspection
Collaborator Contribution Joint patents and know-how
Impact Publication, patents and new security screening products currently underdevelopment
Start Year 2006
 
Title Detection system, particularly electromagnetic detection system for locating and characterizing metal object in detection area, has multiple magnetic field generators, which are arranged on side of detection area 
Description The detection system has multiple magnetic field generators, which are arranged on a side of a detection area, where multiple magnetic field detectors are arranged on another side of the detection area. The latter side is opposite to the former side, where a control system is provided for generating the magnetic field in the detection area by the magnetic field generators and measures a modified magnetic field at the magnetic field detectors. The generated magnetic field is modified by an object, where a processor is configured to process the measured modified magnetic field. 
IP Reference WO2013006373-A1 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2013
Licensed Yes
Impact Product development based on this invention is on-going
 
Title Portal for scanning passenger walking through inspection region, has processing blocks associated with transmitter and receiver elements to process scattered microwave beams that are result of interactions of projected microwave beams 
Description The portal has a funneled entrance comprising opposing panels installed at a first angle to a longitudinal axis. Processing blocks are associated with transmitter and receiver elements to process scattered microwave beams, where the microwave beams are a result of interactions of the projected microwave beams with an upper surface of an object, a rear surface of the object, and a portion of a passenger (1210) adjacent to the upper surface of the object and one of time. Phase or frequency domain information is used to determine location, shape, size or relative permittivity of the object. 
IP Reference WO2015134802-A1 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2015
Licensed Yes
Impact Product development current on-going to exploit this invention