Home Internet of Things Aerospace Apparel Energy Defense Health Care Logistics Manufacturing Retail

Access This Premium Content

Options To Access This Article:

What Subscribers Are Saying

  • "Probably the best investment I've ever made."
    Steve Meizlish, President & CEO, MeizCorp Services, Inc.
  • "I have found that RFID Journal provides an objective viewpoint of RFID. It you are looking for a resource that provides insights as to the application and implications of deploying RFID, RFID Journal will meet your needs, It gives you a broad perspective of RFID, beyond the retail supply chain."
    Mike O'Shea, Director of Corporate AutoID/RFID Strategies & Technologies, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • "No other source provides the consistent value-added insight that Mark Robert and his staff do. In a world dominated by press release after press release, RFID Journal is developing as the one place to go to make the most sense out of the present and future of RFID in commerce."
    Bob Hurley, Project Leader for RFID, Bayer HealthCare's Consumer Care Division
  • "RFID Journal is the one go-to source for information on the latest in RFID technology."
    Bruce Keim, Director, Hewlett-Packard
  • "RFID Journal is the only source I need to keep up to the minute with the happenings in the RFID world."
    Blair Hawley, VP of Supply Chain, Remington Products Company

Sensors Pinpoint Snipers

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology's Georgia Electronic Design Center develop a batteryless RFID tag to monitor air quality.
By Beth Bacheldor
Jun 01, 2009—The U.S. Department of Defense doesn't take lightly to its soldiers being fired on by enemy snipers. So its Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) asked engineers at Vanderbilt University's Institute for Software Integrated Systems (ISIS) to develop a system that could locate stealth shooters. The researchers integrated sensors and wireless technology to turn a soldier's combat helmet into a smart node that can zero in on an enemy sniper.

The smart node comprises four microphone sensors that can listen for gunshots and detect ballistic shockwaves, and algorithms that can calculate the direction from which a shot was fired, often even the location of the shooter within a few meters. When the nodes are affixed to soldiers' helmets, they form self-organizing MEMS (microelectromechanical system) networks that can communicate with each other; the more nodes, the better the accuracy of locating the shooter. "The nodes communicate via RF technology, and each has a unique ID so the person wearing the node can be identified," says Akos Ledeczi, the senior research scientist at ISIS who heads the development effort.


The nodes communicate their findings, along with their own locations and orientations, via Bluetooth to the soldiers' PDAs, which are loaded with mapping software and overhead photos of the area. The PDA displays a 3-D visual of the enemy shooter's location, along with the type and caliber of weapon being fired.

Many of the sniper detection systems currently available are limited, Ledeczi says, because they're vehicle-mounted, they require line of sight (there can't be any obstructions, such as buildings, between the shooter and the system), or they're costly to deploy. "Our system lets each soldier have a relatively cheap piece of equipment that can be built into their helmet or even their uniform," he says.

Work on the project began in 2003, and a prototype was independently tested in 2006 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) at the U.S. Army's Aberdeen Test Center in Maryland. Six different weapons were fired 196 times from distances of 50 to 300 meters, and a 10-node network of sensors detected all the shots.

Since then, the engineers have added Texas Instruments CC1000 RF chips alongside the nodes to determine each soldier's position relative to other soldiers. That data is combined with GPS data to more precisely identify the soldiers' locations in relation to the shots fired (a technique ISIS developed and Vanderbilt University has now patented).

There's still more work to be done. At present, for example, a node runs on four AA batteries for about 12 hours, but a commercial version has to be capable of "sleeping" during normal operation and "waking up" only when necessary, to conserve battery life. The system also needs to be ruggedized and packed in weatherproof housing. Ledeczi and his team are actively looking for partners to collaborate on these revisions and develop the system for commercial use.
To continue reading this article, please log in or choose a purchase option.

Option 1: Become a Premium Member.

One-year subscription, unlimited access to Premium Content: $189

Gain access to all of our premium content and receive 10% off RFID Reports and RFID Events!

Option 2: Purchase access to this specific article.

This article contains 481 words and 1 page. Purchase Price: $19.99

Upgrade now, and you'll get immediate access to:

  • Case Studies

    Our in-dept case-study articles show you, step by step, how early adopters assessed the business case for an application, piloted it and rolled out the technology.

    Free Sample: How Cognizant Cut Costs by Deploying RFID to Track IT Assets

  • Best Practices

    The best way to avoid pitfalls is to know what best practices early adopters have already established. Our best practices have helped hundreds of companies do just that.

  • How-To Articles

    Don’t waste time trying to figure out how to RFID-enable a forklift, or deciding whether to use fixed or mobile readers. Our how-to articles provide practical advice and reliable answers to many implementation questions.

  • Features

    These informative articles focus on adoption issues, standards and other important trends in the RFID industry.

    Free Sample: Europe Is Rolling Out RFID

  • Magazine Articles

    All RFID Journal Premium Subscribers receive our bimonthly RFID Journal print magazine at no extra cost, and also have access to the complete online archive of magazine articles from past years.

Become a member today!

RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations
© Copyright 2002-2016 RFID Journal LLC.
Powered By: Haycco