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New Mexico engineers are working on a new device that could save scores of lives. Scientists from Sandia National Laboratories in cooperation with R3 Technologies are trying to develop a game-changing radar system that could detect suicide bombers.

“There is no technology in the market anywhere that will scan and look for a suicide bomber, and find them,” said R3 Technologies Manager, Robby Roberson. “It doesn’t exist.”

The idea isn’t new. In fact, Roberson’s dad, Coda Roberson, started working on such a system years ago. Sadly, he died before his work bore fruit. “He felt he owed his country something,” said Roberson.

But Roberson the son, along with the Sandia team, are now close to making it work.

JR Russell, Sandia Labs scientist, explained that suicide bombers frequently use materials like nails, ceramic balls, and even small rocks as shrapnel in their improvised explosive devices. Roberson and Co’s concealed bomb detector, CBD-1000, uses radar to find these materials that a metal detector simply cannot.

If the device doesn’t detect a threat, the operator will see a return signal that is vertically polarised. If there is a threat, then a horizontally polarised signal will also return, alerting the operator to the danger.

The device could have applications everywhere, Russell said, from airports, to concerts, to political rallies – any large gathering of people could be protected. As we have seen from the Paris and Brussels attacks, and from our own explosive history in Israel, there is a real need for such a device.

“If we’re successful we’ll be saving lives,” said Russell.

You can watch it work in the video below: