Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Hold your breath to hide from surveillance robot

TiaLinx's Cougar20-H can hear you breathe and see you hiding behind a concrete wall. Skynet, anyone?

Tim Hornyak
Crave freelancer Tim Hornyak is the author of "Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots." He has been writing about Japanese culture and technology for a decade. E-mail Tim.
Tim Hornyak
2 min read

Just don't breathe: TiaLinx's Cougar20-H can find human targets with its rectangular sensing array. TiaLinx

If you want to creep past this new security bot, you'd better be good at holding your breath.

TiaLinx's new Cougar20-H is a lightweight, remote-controlled surveillance robot that can detect human breathing and scan through concrete walls with its ultra-wideband radio frequency sensor array.

The Cougar20-H moves around on tracks and can roll up to a building, extend its arm, and start scanning through the wall with its RF array, developed with funding from the U.S. Army.

Operated from a laptop that can be more than 300 feet away, the robot can scan through reinforced concrete by detecting reflected radio waves. It can find people who are moving or even keeping still, so the operator can see them in real time.

The robot searches for the "biorhythmic patterns" of targets, according to the company. It hasn't divulged too many details about the machine.

But the device is related to the military's decade-long push to develop Sense-Through-the-Wall (STTW) radar technology so soldiers can reconnoiter a building without having to enter it. The aim is to keep soldiers out of harm's way by having them use lightweight scanning tools.

"Cougar20-H can also be remotely programmed at multiple way points to scan the desired premise in a multistory building and provide its layout," TiaLinx founder Fred Mohamadi said in a release. The robot also has multiple onboard cameras for day or night patrols.

The Cougar20-H ships next month and is expected to be used by the Department of Defense, Homeland Security and various law enforcement agencies, and even firefighters. It follows in the tracks of the remote-controlled Cougar10-H, which can detect underground unexploded ordnance and tunnels.

Some very Skynet-worthy skills. Things are not looking too good for the Resistance.