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Tarantula System Offers Seismic Sensor Security

A new seismic-based system created in Israel offers a new line of defense against underground tunneling terrorists and surface infiltrations.

By Zalman Nelson
First Publish: 10/18/2009, 1:03 PM / Last Update: 10/18/2009, 5:02 PM

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A new seismic-based perimeter protection system created in Israel offers a new line of defense against underground tunneling terrorists and surface infiltrations.

Spider Technologies Security’s Tarantula system is comprised of an underground web of small, self-processing, three-dimensional sensors that detect digging, walking or vehicular movement. Developers say the Tarantula is accurate at twice the ranges of existing systems, detecting human targets at distances of about 30 meters (98 feet), and vehicles up to 300 meters (984 feet) in field tests.

Sensors buried 50 centimeters underground at 40-meter intervals form the Tarantula’s web-like array called a SpiderTech Web (STW). Each STW can control up to 200 sensors. Complete security systems would connect up to another 200 STWs to a centralized computer-based command center.

Field tests have demonstrated the system's ability to cancel out noise from multiple sources in isolated as well as congested environments.

"Until today, seismic-based systems offered limited strategic value due to a number of factors, including very high false-alarm levels, bottlenecks between sensors and processing units, and their inability to detect and classify targets in all environments at meaningful ranges," said SpiderTech's chief technical officer Sever Mican.

The company has been working with Israel's Ministry of Defense, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other potential customers to demonstrate the system’s capabilities across a range of operational terrains.

In Israel, the SpiderTech system could be employed to defend hundreds of kilometers of open borders with Egypt, from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, and with Jordan, from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea, said Rada Electronic Industries Chairman Herzl Bodinger, a former Israel Air Force commander.

"This is one of the capabilities I've identified as imperative for the defense of Israel. Sadly, we've already suffered tremendously from terrorist tunnels and underground infiltrations, and this threat will surely grow in the years to come," Bodinger said.