Jacqueline Hochheiser, Corporate Communications

Demand for public security and weapons detection systems is increasing in the United States. With a growing need for security at public venues comes the necessity for better, more efficient technology to protect citizens from threats. Mini-Circuits products have been incorporated into a new weapons detection system designed by security company, Liberty Defense, to keep people safe across the U.S.

Since 2015 there have been over 2,000 mass shootings in the United States alone, averaging about 350 shooting per year. Current weapons detection technologies can be cumbersome and often require a large amount of dedicated space. Take, for example, security check points at an airport. In these situations, the large equipment can only scan one person at a time, causing major backups in traffic flow. These systems will often flag objects that do not pose a threat, such as a belt buckle, causing further disruption and inconvenience for the individual pulled aside.

To combat the rise in public violence, Liberty Defense, a startup that specializes in weapons detection technology, has introduced a more efficient system to identify dangerous weapons concealed on a person or in their luggage. The technology behind their system was originally developed at MIT’s Lincoln Lab, another Mini-Circuits customer, and can detect and classify weapons concealed on a person as they walk by. The technology was licensed and transferred to Liberty Defense, who will commercialize it and use it in their system called Hexwave.

Photo Courtesy of Liberty Defense

Hexwave is a versatile weapons detection system that can be installed indoors or outdoors, in covert or overt locations. Unlike current systems, Hexwave can detect metal, plastic and liquid. It then uses artificial intelligence (AI) to determine if the object is a threat or not. This system can handle a constant stream of people walking past its sensors with minimal to no obstruction to traffic. It is planned for installation at a variety of large public events and locations such as stadiums, malls, theaters and airports.

Hexwave derives its unique capabilities from an antenna array transceiver operating at microwave frequencies (6-10 GHz), 3D radar image generation, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). The low energy microwaves that are emitted penetrate clothing and bags as individuals walk by. These waves bounce off any objects that are metallic, plastic or liquid and return to the receiver.

Photo Courtesy of Liberty Defense

The gathered data is then configured into a 3D image by the radar image generator, providing real-time surveillance. AI algorithms then process the images and assess if they look like objects that pose a threat, such as guns, knives or explosives. The AI is also supported by ML, which is a sub-set of AI that trains a machine to learn by feeding it large amounts of data that it reviews to find patterns and draw conclusions. Therefore, over time Hexwave will become even better at flagging threatening objects.

Mini-Circuits is proud to supply subcomponents that are integrated into the system. Liberty Defense ordered several catalog models including terminations, adapters and cavity bandpass filters.

All three components function over wide frequency ranges to accommodate the 6 to 10 GHz bandwidth of Hexwave’s system. These components are ruggedized and versatile to support functionality indoors, as well as the multitude of weather conditions the system will be exposed to outdoors.

Low insertion loss provides efficient signal transmission and better power delivery to the transmitter, enabling Hexwave to scan beneath clothing and into baggage with high fidelity. This helps Hexwave properly monitor objects brought into mass gatherings and events. These components also feature excellent VSWR (Voltage Standing Wave Ratio) to minimize signal interference and reflections so the data received can be translated into a clear 3D rendered image.

While long-term solutions to the alarming trend of mass shootings remain a heated and complex topic of debate, Liberty Defense is introducing technologies to monitor threats at large public venues more effectively and curb the risk of violence. Mini-Circuits is proud to support Liberty Defense in their mission to innovate more effective methods to help protect the public from harm.