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British troops try out 'James Bond' style X-ray specs

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  Published: June 29, 2003 by Kevin Hurley
BRITISH troops have been carrying out secret tests on a revolutionary new device that allows them to ‘see’ through walls, scientists have revealed.

The tiny radar device works like the futuristic X-ray specs recently seen in the James Bond film The World is Not Enough.

Soldiers, including members of the Black Watch and Scots Guards, have been helping to test the machine.

The machine allows soldiers not only to see through walls but also underground to find hidden passages.

It transmits low-frequency radar pulses that can pass through the walls and detect objects and movements.

The machine’s antenna sensors can pick up enough information to create sharp views on a screen of what is happening inside a room.

The equipment can see through walls up to nearly a foot thick and the device is being engineered to have a 75ft range.

Scientists are currently working on a model small enough to allow soldiers to wear and use in battle.

The successful testing of a prototype came after more than three years of research.

Gordon Oswald, associate director of CCL (Cambridge Consultants Ltd) who developed the prototype, revealed our soldiers had been testing the invention.

"We are working with military organisations at the moment and we need to get the exact specifications about what they need," he said.

"But I think things could move very fast if everything goes well.

"The radar pulse goes through the wall and reflects off the objects that are there before bouncing back through the wall and into the unit.

"It’s not a picture in the traditional sense as the information appears on the screen in the form of icons.

"You can’t actually see who the person is but you can see them moving around and where they are in the room."

Oswald claims the invention will also have important uses for other professions, especially the emergency services.

Rescue workers could use it to tell if disaster victims were alive under fallen rubble and the police would be able to use it in siege situations.

Oswald said: "This radar delivers the kind of high-level location information that could really tip the balance in favour of rescuers in a broad range of time-critical situations.

"In the aftermath of an earthquake or explosion, or a hostage situation, this machine would be invaluable."

However, nosy neighbours will be disappointed to hear they will not be able get their hands on the technology to satisfy their spying urges. There are plans to make only a limited number and each one will cost thousands of pounds. They will not be made available to the public.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman declined to comment on the device. She said: "I am aware of what you are talking about but it is classified information therefore I can’t say anything."

Other new military inventions in the pipeline include computer-aided glasses which give soldiers the power to see far beyond their normal capability, and lightweight combat uniforms capable of stopping bullets and toxins, monitoring a soldier’s health, communicating with remote commanders and even enhancing strength.

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