Distant-scanning crowds for potential threats

Privacy will be maintained through automated anomaly detection; no image of an individual is displayed for review by security personnel.

During the three-day test and evaluation, technology developers from Lincoln Laboratory documented the prototype’s ability to detect various simulated threat items at different distances on the rail platform while people were moving within the radar field of view.

“The goal is to make millimeter wave technology as seamless as possible,” said Don Roberts, S&T Program Manager in the Explosive Division of Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The flat panel design of the millimeter wave imager can be configured into various sizes to facilitate integration not just in walls and ceilings, but also in columns, and even into fare gates and entryways. Being concealed behind signs and advertisements will allow them to be hidden in plain sight.

“The design can be scaled for large and small implementations depending on the particular case,” said Moulder.

Moulder’s team is currently developing image exploitation techniques. “We are developing new techniques and algorithms to try to make sense of, or to turn a microwave image into actionable intelligence or information that security staff can use,” said Moulder. “With this prototype, we are hoping to provide DHS with a clear assessment of what role this technology can play.”

Following the test at the MBTA training facility, S&T will review that data to further improve and refine the millimeter wave system. In the next phase, the millimeter wave prototype will be integrated with other technologies for layered testing.

The technologies S&T’s STETD program is developing will be applicable to stadiums and other large crowd environments.  

“We want to take advantage of the video information that facilities use on a daily basis and seamlessly dovetail the millimeter wave sensors with the video systems,” said Roberts.

S&T notes that recently, the program the millimeter wave project is a part of, STETD, won the American Security Today’s 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Award for outstanding product development achievements and exciting new technologies to address the growing homeland security threats the United States is facing.