The US Army has developed a prototype location tracking capability for handheld mine sweeping devices that converts traditional audio signals that indicate the presence of a buried object into a visual display.
By visualising these audio cues, researchers at the army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center’s (CERDEC) Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD) hope to improve an operator’s ability to make sense of new and emerging mine threats.
At present, a soldier has to rely on audio cues to ascertain an object and mark its location for further investigation, Christopher Marshall, a scientist in the explosive hazard detection and neutralisation prototyping branch of the countermine division, NVESD, told Jane’s during a demonstration of the Real Time Spatial Location Tracking Information system, at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
With the new system, the soldier receives a coloured representation of the area being investigated. For example, a large metallic object can be defined with red, which appears on the screen with its position clearly displayed.
Marshall noted that the new system enables troops to create a visual layout of the suspected minefield along with geophysical information, which enables them to indicate areas of interest for further investigation and speed up the calibration of other sensors.
NVESD has also incorporated the technology into a heads-up display and virtual reality goggles.
“Operationally, if you are getting tired and someone takes your place, imagine them coming up and they can watch this while walking up to where you are. It won’t be like they are starting cold; they will see the layout, what you’ve [swept over],” he explained.
“What we found is that the largest and biggest step in improved performance is the immediate ability of the operator to see what they heard,” he added.
Real-time spatial location information can also be beneficial for training, according to the researchers.
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options at ihs.com/contact