October 8, 2018
Homeland Security got a thing and it’s called radar love
Is there a 20th century sensor more iconic than radar?
In massive Doppler domes or forever-circling dishes at airports, radar installations scream massive infrastructure and far-reaching perception. Miniaturizing the technology has moved it from fixed installations to inside planes and even smaller versions in cars. This week, the Department of Homeland Security awarded $200,000 in funding for the final testing phase of radar tiny enough to fit on small drones.
Produced by Echodyne of Bellevue, Washington, this radar system is essentially a Metamaterials Electronically Scanning Array (MESA). Mimicking a phased array radar, which concentraes on tracking an object as it moves, it is a short, silent video. Echodyne demonstrates a MESA system tracking flight paths of a DJI Phantom 4 drones for over 3,300 feet. This tracking traces a path through three-dimensional space as well as above the tree line, enabling the flight of the basketball-sized drone intelligible.
Echodyne is the third spinout from Intellectual Ventures and was founded in 2009. Using metamaterials to reinventing the way the world uses radar.