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Detector identifies plastic and metal mines. (Tech Talk).

CyTerra Corporation, in Waltham, Mass., is putting the finishing touches on a landmine detector designed to identify plastic mines. The system was designed for the U.S. Army.

If it works as promised, the Handheld Standoff Mine Detection System will provide soldiers with a tool to detect metallic and non-metallic mines in all climates and terrain, while dramatically reducing the rate of false alarms, said David H. Fine, president of CyTerra.

The company developed this technology after a laborious 15-year research effort, funded by the U.S. Army. The service had long been searching for a reliable means of detecting non-metallic, plastic-cased mines, Fine said.

"Existing mine detectors are based on a single technology--metal detection," he explained. "Our system fuses together two sensor technologies--ground-penetrating radar and metal detection. By combining these two complementary methods of detection, we can simultaneously boost the sensitivity of each technology and dramatically reduce the high number of false alarms that are associated with today's landmine detectors."

Traditionally, high false-alarm rates have been a problem with landmine detectors that rely solely on metal-detection technologies, since there are many miscellaneous metal fragments in a minefield, Fine explained. CyTerra has a significantly lower false-alarm rate, and it should allow soldiers to clear mines much faster, Fine said.

CyTerra is now fine-tuning the detector's design, in order to improve its performance. The company is expected to deliver 22 units to the Army for developmental and operational field testing under a variety of environ mental conditions, Fine said.
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Author:Foster, Sharon
Publication:National Defense
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2002
Words:248
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