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Irish radar detection research project takes off

• CTVR aims to commercialise new ‘see through the wall’ technology
• UWB radar systems to potentially be applied in medical & security sectors

The Centre for Telecommunications Value-Chain Research (CTVR) today announced that a research project into ultra-wideband (UWB) radar detection systems being carried by a team at the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) has been backed by Enterprise Ireland.

Ultra-wideband precision radar imaging technology - ‘see-through-the-wall’ radar - can be used in a range of different sectors, from locating persons buried underground in emergency situations, to providing accurate data on patients under ongoing medical supervision, to vehicular anti-collision systems.

The team at the DIT’s Antenna & High Frequency Research Group (AHFR), part of the CTVR’s wider research group, has developed new antenna designs that increase the levels of accuracy of UWB radar systems. In turn, improved accuracy of UWB radar will ultimately allow developers to create applications that can be promoted and marketed commercially.

Professor Donal O’Mahony, Director, CTVR, said: “This research work, which has already been the subject of papers published in some of the world's leading scientific journals, is also hugely significant from a commercial point of view. Our goal from the beginning has been to facilitate the efforts of companies in Ireland to unlock the commercial value of this new technology”.

Dr Max Ammann, Senior Lecturer, Electronic & Communications Engineering, DIT, said: “The support from Enterprise Ireland will allow us to move the project forward, so that our research can move beyond the lab and support the commercialisation of UWB radar systems. At DIT, we have built a strong track record in helping to bring new technologies to the market place, and this is just the latest stage in that process”.

The UWB technology that is being developed may also have extensive application in the communications arena, in terms of allowing laptops to connect wirelessly to office networks, delivering wireless connections between consumer electronics devices or facilitating data streaming from a camcorder to the hard drive of a PC.

The AHFR team at DIT has carried out extensive research in the application of UWB technology for communications purposes. Last year, the team developed new antenna designs to allow for high speed links between communication devices.

In addition, vehicular or automotive radar systems are currently being promoted as another possible use for UWB technology. These systems can potentially be used to improve automotive safety through collision avoidance systems, safer use of airbags, restraint system arming, and parking assistance.

The use of UWB technology in communications systems evolved during the 1980s to meet the needs of US government agencies, especially for communications systems with low intercept and detection probability. Today, interest in UWB devices extends to civilian use.

Penny Storey | alfa
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