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Frequently Asked Questions

Sense Trough Obstructions Remote Monitoring System (STORMS)

Top 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1) What is STORMS and what is STTW radar?

STORMS is a human life-form detection system based on an advanced penetrating radar. STTW or See-Through-The-Wall radar is a class of penetrating radars that are used to identify targets within buildings and structures.

2) Does STORMS “see” through walls & obstructions? How does STORMS work?

No. No system actually “sees” through walls. STORMS “senses” by transmitting an advanced electromagnetic waveform through walls and other obstructions then receives the return waves that have bounced off of the targets and other materials in its path. STORMS uses the Doppler and Micro Doppler signatures to detect, classify, identify and track moving and stationary human life-form targets behind the walls/obstructions.

3) How far away can the STORMS system sense through walls/obstructions?

That depends on the density of the wall/obstruction. Typically, STORMS has well over 300m of standoff range through most of the world’s standard constructions methods such as wood, brick and/or concrete block. Construction methods with much lower densities like Afghan mud-huts and simple wood construction pose very little challenge for STORMS resulting in much greater standoff capabilities. However, construction methods with dramatically higher densities like bunker-type reinforced concrete provide for shorter, yet still operationally relevant standoff distances.

4) What kind of walls/obstructions can STORMS penetrate?

STORMS has been extensively tested on a number of construction materials, vehicles and types of foliage. STORMS testing was conducted both internally and by government and external independent organizations. All testing was conducted on actual structures and vehicles, not “representative materials” or “stand alone test walls”. STORMS has proven penetration performance on the following:

  • Solid reinforced concrete
  • Solid high density Adobe
  • Reinforced & filled concrete block
  • Standard concrete block construction
  • Partially TEMPEST protected facilities
  • Brick construction
  • Stucco construction
  • Slump block construction
  • Wood with/without Drywall
  • Plastic and fiberglass structures
  • Mud-hut primitive construction
  • Aircraft, cars, trucks, trailers
  • Partial metal buildings
  • Desert, woodland & jungle foliage

5) What do I see as the system operator?

The STORMS radar systems have a bore-sighted EO/Low light camera and laser range finder to provide contextual data to the system operator. STORMS provides all of its system data to the operator via a customizable graphic user interface (GUI). STORMS GUI has several key components: a video tracking window; a Doppler Radar Map; and the system controls and status indicators. The STORMS GUI can be configured to meet any customer’s requirements and specifications. Below is a picture of a typical video tracking GUI and the Doppler Radar Map:



6) How many human life-form targets can STORMS sense at one time?

STORMS detects all of the human life-form targets present within a structure or within foliage. The system provides the operator its detections via renderings on the Doppler Radar Map. As with any Doppler radar system, the simultaneous presence of both moving and stationary targets makes the detection and identification of the stationary targets more difficult. In a very short time and with minimal training, operators can become very comfortable and proficient in using the Doppler Radar Map to identify and count human life-form targets. The STORMS also provides a basic automated target tracking capability. Automated human life-form target tracking is provided to the user via the video tracking window. 

7) Does STORMS have all weather, day/night operational capabilities?

Yes. STORMS is a radar based sensor that does not suffer system degradation due to illumination, obscurants and/or rain, fog or snow

8) What is Doppler/Micro Doppler and how does it help detect, classify, identify and track human life-form targets?

Doppler is the change in frequency of a wave for an observer moving relative to the source of the wave. It does this by beaming a signal towards a desired target and listening for its reflection, then analyzing how the frequency of the returned signal has been altered by the object's motion. This change provides highly accurate measurements of the radial component of a target's velocity relative to the radar.


So what does this all mean and how does it make the system work? STORMS uses the Doppler signatures to detect targets moving behind walls/obstructions. However, unlike most other STTW systems, STORMS has advanced signal processing that analyzes the Doppler signals and distinguishes “Human” signatures to ensure that detections are not mechanical or animal in nature. Moreover, because STORMS is so much more advanced than other radars, it can take full advantage of the Micro Doppler signatures to detect heart beats, breathing, postural sway and speech at stand off ranges behind walls/obstructions. These factors combined allow STORMS to provide extremely accurate detection rates for moving and stationary human life-form targets without the typical false detection issues that plague other STTW radar systems.

9) Is STORMS dangerous for the operators or the human targets?

No! STORMS transmits less energy than a standard cell phone. US government radiation safety testing has proven that even the most powerful vehicular mounted STORMS system is well within the safety limits within less than 4” from the transmitter.

10) Is STORMS ready today or is this just a concept?

STORMS is ready and deployed now! STORMS has already been deployed by the United States Army on one of its most advanced ground vehicles. STORMS vehicular mounted and man-packable systems are ready for immediate purchase and deployment. VAWD’s handheld STORMS product will be available for purchase and deployment in Q2 2012.

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