Dolphins inspire scientists to create a new explosive device detection system

Not everyone is aware of the fact that dolphins use their own sonar to search for and stun fish. They also create a special "network" of air bubbles in which they catch their prey. Dolphin sonar works in a special way to distinguish water bubbles from fish. By copying the dolphin hydroacoustic system, scientists have managed to obtain a new type of radar that can distinguish explosive devices from other objects.

The team, led by Professor Tim Leighton of the University of Southampton, UK, is based on Dual Inverted Pulse Sonar, also known as TWIPS.

TWIPS technology is structured as follows: two sonars simultaneously send a sequence of identical acoustic pulses with an inverted phase. When impulses hit a solid object in their path, they are reflected following a linear distribution pattern. Air bubbles are distributed according to a non-linear model. Due to this difference, TWIPS sonars locate underwater targets against a background of air bubbles.

Leighton's team decided to test what would happen if acoustic waves were replaced with electromagnetic ones. In the course of the experiments, it was found that the signal reflected from the target object corresponds to a nonlinear distribution, and the "noise" signals - to a linear one. As a result, a new type of locator has appeared - the double inverted pulse radar (TWIPR).

Researchers have successfully tested TWIPR radars to detect tiny dipole antennas (commonly used in bomb fuses). Moreover, the signal was detected, despite the fact that the antenna was located on an aluminum plate next to a rusty iron bench.

Antenna found using TWIPR

Scientists hope that after the final development of the technology, it can be used not only to detect explosive devices, but also to search for people in dangerous conditions.