A new security system that uses buried fiber-optic cables to detect illegal border crossers or drug smugglers is being tested by the University of Arizona’s engineering college.
The Helios system is designed to be able to detect if people are running or walking and their direction of travel. It can tell the difference between small animals, horses and trucks and is designed to minimize false alarms.
The system is being developed by a Tucson-based geophysical engineering company called Zonge. The UA’s Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources is evaluating the system for potential border security uses.
Pulses of laser light are sent through the cables, and vibrations are measured by detectors at either end of the cable.