It's been difficult to build radar that can penetrate walls well enough to show what's happening behind, but researchers at MIT's Lincoln Lab say their system can see through walls from some distance away, giving an instantaneous picture of the activity on the other side.
The technique has powerful implications for military operations, especially "urban combat situations," Gregory Charvat, the leader of the project, said in an MIT release Tuesday.
The researchers tested their system of arrayed antennas, 13 transmitting ones and eight receiving elements, on walls of concrete up to 8 inches thick.
The main goal and biggest hurdle for the research was achieving the speed, resolution and range necessary to be useful in real time, Charvat said.
"If you're in a high-risk combat situation, you don't want one image every 20 minutes, and you don't want to have to stand right next to a potentially dangerous building," he said.
The system can be used up to 60 feet away from the wall and returns images at more than 10 frames per second, Charvat said.