Forget CCTV: Get set for unmanned laser surveillance

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lasers.jpgPublic surveillance is a live issue at the moment, what with CCTV cameras springing up in British streets faster than you can say ‘Run for your tin-foil hats! The government is watching us like a hawk!’.

Yet scientists are already working on the next generation of surveillance technology, which uses… lasers. Sadly not in a way that would automatically fry burglars using a 200-pulsatron securi-gun. Although it’s a thought.

Instead, a team at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee has developed a laser surveillance system that detects changes to static objects in a set location.

It works by scanning a room constantly monitoring tags attached to specific items, to see if they’ve changed. Think doors which shouldn’t have been opened, or sensitive valves / switches. If it detects a change, it summons hordes of killer robots sounds an alarm.

It’s fair to say the system won’t be used in your local high street to stop drunken yobs from nicking postboxes. Instead, expect to see it installed in high-security facilities such as nuclear power stations, military installations, and secret US government alien-autopsy bases.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Photonics group (via New Scientist)

Stuart Dredge