Remote Acoustic Detection System Uses Laser Vibrometer to Identify Homemade Bombs

Vanderbilt University engineer Douglas Adams and his team have developed a remote acoustic detection system designed to identify homemade bombs that can determine the difference between those that contain low-yield and high-yield explosives. This research was presented at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Dynamic Systems and Control Conference on October 23, 2013 in Stanford, CA. The new system consists of a phased acoustic array that focuses an intense sonic beam at a suspected improvised explosive device. At the same time, an instrument called a laser vibrometer is aimed at the object's casing and records how the casing is vibrating in response. The nature of the vibrations reveal a great deal about what is inside the container. "We are applying techniques of laser vibrometry that have been developed for non-destructive inspection of materials and structures to the problem of bomb detection and they are working quite well," Adams said.