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Just a Heartbeat Away

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 1997
2 pages
This article describes AVIAN, the Advanced Vehicle Interrogation and Notification system designed to detect the presence of persons hiding in an enclosed space, like a vehicle.

Developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), AVIAN has demonstrated effectiveness at detecting hidden people at border checkpoints and in correctional institutions, where prisoners sometimes try to escape by concealing themselves in vehicles. The technology and use of the system are described and involve a motion detector placed on a flat surface of a vehicle; the motion detector is sensitive enough to detect the heartbeat of a human. Moreover, AVIAN can distinguish between ambient noise and other vibrations, cutting the rate of false positives. Testing at correctional facilities has been successful, with 100 percent of escapees being identified with the technology. Future plans for AVIAN include upgrading the technology to enable it to detect the heartbeat of a bird. Contact information is provided.

Date Published: October 1, 1997