Albuquerque-based radar detection system developer R3 Technologies, in conjunction with four other New Mexico-based companies, is close to bringing its Concealed Bomb Detector (the CBD-1000) to market, thanks to the New Mexico Small Business Assistance program (NMSBA), which coordinated a partnership for the group with Sandia National Laboratories.
In order to facilitate technology transfer and knowledge sharing, the NMSBA was created in 2000 by the state legislature to connect New Mexico entrepreneurs with scientists and engineers at Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Three years ago, when CBD-1000 development had plateaued, the program introduced R3 and its partners to Sandia sensor expert JR Russell, who has helped develop metrics that quantify the performance of the technology, zeroing in on the device’s accuracy.
From the Sandia blog:
The device is designed to detect bombs that current metal detector technology would miss and is intended for screening areas such as airports, embassies, public and government buildings, border crossings, transportation hubs, and military compounds. It is portable and could also be used at special events where crowds are expected. The CBD-1000 uses X-band radar to detect metallic and non-metallic explosives. [R3 Technologies CEO Robby] Roberson says it can detect ball bearings, glass, nails, ceramics, rocks, and other materials frequently used as shrapnel in suicide vests.
The technical support from Sandia has been crucial, according to Roberson. He says Russell helped them find a way to reduce noise surrounding the radar signal, strengthen the signal and ultimately improve the CBD-1000’s accuracy. This allows the CBD-1000 to scan people as they are walking, ensuring a suicide bomber can be more easily identified and apprehended before they’ve reached their intended target.
R3 Technologies was one of 364 New Mexico small businesses that participated in NMSBA during 2015. In addition to working with the national labs, the program contracts with the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership, University of New Mexico Management of Technology program at the Anderson School of Management, UNM School of Engineering, Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University, and the New Mexico Tech Department of Management.
The CBD-1000, which is patented, will cost about $50,000. Several hundred units have been produced, and the company has received inquiries from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Singapore, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria. The group hopes to bring the technology to market later this year.
Photo: R3 CEO Robby Roberson in front of the CBD-1000 bomb detector
Photo Credit: Randy Montoya, courtesy of Sandia National Labs