Reducing the Threat to Public Safety: Improved metallic object characterisation, location and detection

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


Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.


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Description The aim of this project is to improve MD across a complete spectrum of applications by better location and discrimination of multiple objects leading to a reduction in false positives. This is being achieved through the following objectives:
1. Deeper understanding of metal detector theory based on Magnetic Polarisability Tensors (MPTs) to innovate a step change in detector design.
2. Development of a fast and accurate simulation tool for MPTs using scientific computing.
3. Improved detector design based on a deeper understanding of MD theory.
4. Validation and verification of computed MPTs using measurements for relevant applications.
5. Improving classification and discrimination of conducting objects.
Exploitation Route Through the Innovate UK projects with Metrasens and Rapiscan and with Magnapower listed under further funding. The IUK project with Metrasens / Rapiscan will allow the results to be used to improve the performance and range of metal detection products on the market. The IUK project with Magnapower will enable new metal sorting equipment to be brought to the international market by a UK manufacturer.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Security and Diplomacy,Transport

Description In Summer 2021, we gave a virtual exhibit at the prestigious Royal Society Summer Exhibition which took place over the week from 8 July 2021 and was a totally digital event. The research is the EPSRC project "Reducing the Threat to Public Safety: Improved metallic object characterisation, location and detection" helped to underpin our exhibit "Sensing danger", which focussed on the problems faced in discriminating between buried objects for humanitarian demining. See The flash lecture "Landmine or bottle top" associated with our exhibit ( ) attracted over 14k view and our exhibit was one of the three to feature on the Radio 4 Inside Science programme (first released 8 July 2021).
First Year Of Impact 2021
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Security and Diplomacy,Transport
Impact Types Societal

Description A novel Smart Metal Detector (SMD) to detect and locate real threats (e.g. handguns and knives) without interrupting the normal flow of public, thus leading to far more accurate, efficient and cost-effective security screening
Amount £1,366,412 (GBP)
Funding ID 39814 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2020 
End 07/2022
Description Lectureship in Personnel Screening Systems
Amount £550,000 (GBP)
Organisation Rapiscan Systems 
Sector Private
Country United States
Start 10/2019 
End 09/2024
Description Realising Advanced Sensor Technology for Enhanced Recovery of Metal Scrap (RASTER)
Amount £584,484 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/W021013/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2022 
End 04/2025
Description The Metal-ID separation system: A new approach to recovering non-ferrous metals using multi-frequency metal-detection and machine learning.
Amount £326,031 (GBP)
Funding ID 72207 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2020 
End 04/2022
Description On-going collaboration with Rapiscan Systems 
Organisation Rapiscan Systems
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Supporting the industrial partner in developing novel personnel screening technology based on a better understanding of metal detection theory and its application.
Collaborator Contribution Funding of University lectureship - Dr Michael O'Toole. Knowledge and expertise in industrial metal detection as in-kind contribution.
Impact Characterization of metal object responses (e.g. firearms, knifes, innocuous objects etc) Tensor measurement equipment Design support for new security screening products. Funding of lectureship position
Title Method and apparatus for determining conductivity 
Description Embodiments of the present invention provide a method of and an apparatus for determining conductivity of a metal target. An interrogation magnetic field is provided and induces an electrical current in the metal target. A resultant magnetic field is generated by the electrical current. In-phase and out-of-phase components of the resultant magnetic field are determined for the target at a first frequency (conductivity limit due to skin depth) and a second frequency of the interrogation magnetic field respectively. The conductivity of the metal target is determined based on the in-phase and out-of-phase components at the first and second frequencies. 
IP Reference PCT/GB2018/051173 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2018
Licensed Yes
Impact Licence with Magnapower to exploit this technology
Description Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Finding buried targets presents a serious challenge - especially in the detection and removal of anti-personnel landmines. Our research is pioneering cutting edge sub-surface detection technology for humanitarian demining. This work centres on the combination of innovative electromagnetic inspection and ground-penetrating radar, leading to safer, faster, and more effective landmine clearance.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020