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7 April 2011

Cambridge Consultants sprints ahead with innovative counter-terror search technology

New 'Sprint' in-wall radar imaging system unveiled

Cambridge Consultants, a leading technology design and development firm, today unveiled ‘Sprint’, a prototype handheld device which provides a 3D image of objects embedded within walls or floors. Based on Cambridge Consultants’ proven short range radar expertise, Sprint enables an operator to rapidly form an image of subsurface structures such as pipes and cables, as well as detecting items of interest such as concealed explosives and contraband, revolutionising counter-terrorism and crime prevention search techniques.

Law enforcement and security agencies are constantly facing new challenges as criminals and terrorists look for ever more creative ways to conceal weapons or to smuggle contraband, and the Sprint system has been designed to tackle some of the most challenging threat detection scenarios. The London 2012 Olympics, for example, will be one of the toughest security challenges seen in the UK to date and security services will want to leave no stone unturned in the hunt for potential threats. Sprint can quickly and easily look inside anything from the floor to the roof, and the handheld system can simply be moved across a surface to build a larger picture. With many new buildings and facilities being developed for the 2012 games, this technology could provide a unique and innovative way of ensuring that they are clear of any threat.

Unlike existing transmission x-ray systems, the radar-based Sprint system does not require access to both sides of the object in order to scan inside, and provides an easily interpreted image of the wall structure, something which compact radar systems have previously not provided. This significantly improves its application potential and can enable much quicker deployment in scenarios where speed can be critical.

"Whereas other options, such as backscatter x-rays, are cumbersome, expensive and power hungry systems, and conventional radar systems have been difficult to interpret, Sprint’s use of radar and processing technology makes it possible to look inside an opaque object or surface from one side safely, cheaply and quickly in a low power, handheld device," commented Sam Pumphrey, Senior Consultant at Cambridge Consultants.

The prototype Sprint device is the equivalent size of a standard sheet of letter paper and 15cm deep, weighing approximately 3.5kg with batteries. It is a multi-channel system, enabling full synthetic aperture processing, and it uses short pulses of energy with high bandwidth to enable the short range, high resolution imaging required. Other potential applications for the technology include industrial inspection, technical search, counter surveillance and a range of military applications.

Cambridge Consultants is currently conducting extensive performance testing to take Sprint beyond the prototype stage and ready it for future commercialisation.

Sprint has been developed to sit alongside Cambridge Consultants’ Prism 200 device. Prism 200 is a handheld through-wall radar, designed to be used by police, special forces or the emergency services. It provides quick and covert intelligence on the movement and location of people in a room or building - without the need for invasive sensors.

Notes to editors

Cambridge Consultants develops breakthrough products, creates and licenses intellectual property, and provides business consultancy in technology-critical issues for clients worldwide. For more than 50 years, the company has been helping its clients turn business opportunities into commercial successes, whether they are launching first-to-market products, entering new markets or expanding existing markets through the introduction of new technologies. With a team of more than 700 staff, including engineers, scientists, mathematicians and designers, in offices in Cambridge (UK), Boston (USA) and Singapore, Cambridge Consultants offers solutions across a diverse range of industries including medical technology, industrial and consumer products, digital health, oil and gas, and wireless communications.

Cambridge Consultants is part of Altran, a global leader in engineering and R&D services which offers its clients a new way to innovate. Altran works alongside its clients on every link in the value chain of their project, from conception to industrialisation. In 2015, the Altran group generated revenues of €1.945bn. With a headcount of more than 27,000 employees, Altran is present in more than 20 countries. For more information, visit

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Debbie Mayhew
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Cambridge Consultants
+44 1223 392418

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