ECT detector

FABW 3D imaging detection method makes progress

PhD researcher Carl Tholin-Chittenden presented his latest developments from the Find A Better Way funded project at the University of Bath at the 8th World Congress on Industrial Process Tomography at Iguassu Falls, Brazil, last week.

Based at the university’s Department of Electronics & Electrical Engineering, and overseen by project lead Dr Manuchehr Soleimani, Carl is working to develop a low-cost electrical imaging sensor for landmine detection with significant depth recognition. Ultimately it is hoped the sensors will be able to produce 3D images of antipersonnel mines up to 20 cm underground or anti-tank mines up to 50 cm below the surface.

Speaking of his cutting-edge technology Carl explained, ‘I have developed a software package which is used for the modelling and reconstruction of something called Electrical Capacitance Tomography, or ECT, which could be very effective for detecting landmines. Unlike metal detectors, ECT can ‘see’ objects of any material, including plastic. This is crucial for improving the detection of modern anti-personnel mines, which contain only tiny amounts of metal.

‘I got a lot of interest at the congress for this software package,’ he continued. ‘I also presented my work on sensor head design optimisation which has improved our depth detection (an inherent problem with planar array ECT).’

As a lifelong Manchester United fan, Carl got the thrill of a lifetime when Sir Bobby and Lady Charlton visited his lab in June for a demonstration. Sir Bobby had been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Bath that morning, and he was keen to see Carl’s work first hand.

Asked which was the bigger thrill, meeting Sir Bobby or seeing the world-famous Iguazu Falls during his recent trip to Brazil, Carl had no trouble coming up with an answer. ‘The waterfall was very impressive but the butterflies there were nothing compared to the ones in my stomach before meeting Sir Bobby!’