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Covid-19: Israeli defence companies adapt sensors to screen for virus

Israel's Ministry of Defense (MoD) is working with two Israeli defence companies to develop radar- and electro-optical-based sensors to monitor peoples’ vital signs and identify ones infected with Covid-19.

The programme is being led by the National Emergency Team of the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) under the MoD.

The ministry made the announcement on 31 March, saying Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) have adapted existing systems. “The data, including pulse, respiratory rate and temperature, are measured remotely using a combination of radar and electro-optical sensors, thus reducing the risk of infection to medical personnel. The next stage of development [is] screening and prioritising patient care based on the analysis of vital data.

The ELM-2114 radar that IAI is using as part of its system.

Israel Lupa, executive vice president and chief technological officer of IAI’s Elta division, told Jane's , we started looking at a range of solutions, and one of those that emerged was the need to monitor patients remotely before they come into contact with medical personnel in order to prevent infections.”

IAI-Elta took its 1 kg ELM-2114 perimeter surveillance radar as the basis for its medical system. The radar uses the very low frequency K-band so can be safely placed very close to people, Lupa said. Using the radar, the system can track a person’s movements as they breath as well as their pulse when placed 3 m away, with medics in another room receiving readings in seconds.

“We took the smallest of our radars and placed on it the ability to measure pulse and breath rates. We completed the adaptation within days and linked it up with an electro-optic system that can measure body temperature,” Lupa said. “It provides an alert, not a definite diagnosis, but it can act as an indication.”

One of the radars that Elbit is testing for its system.

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