Technology
Coffee can radar
cantenna_radar.jpg

Whats more hardcore than making your own synthetic aperture radar system? How about teaching a class how to build their own using some breadboardable electronics, empty coffee cans, and a spare laptop?

That’s exactly what radio whiz Greg Charvat did this semester at MIT, and you can see some of the results that students are getting here and here. I’m eagerly awaiting the plans and parts lists that they’ve promised to release once the class is finished.

I don’t recall seeing many radar hacks at all (besides Greg’s, of course)– anyone else out there attempting to make their own?

Shown above is the radar that students Tony Hyun Kim, Nevada Sanchez, and Paresh Malalur put together for the class.

28 thoughts on “Coffee can radar

  1. There is one radar hack that i recall reading about, which is the DIY body scanner by Jeri Ellsworth, where she reversed a transistor to cause one (of 3) horns on a satellite TV DRO to radiate and used another to receive scattered magnitude. Then, a laser mouse was incorporated for position information. This was a simple radar measuring magnitude of scattered fields but it was a very clever one.
    http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2010/12/diy-body-scanner-1.html

    1. Hi Sean,

      A synthetic aperture radar is capable of 2D/3D imaging of detected objects in real time. The kit from Ramsey is very cool, but it is a doppler radar, which is can only provide an object’s speed. A SAR can provide speed, vector, altitude, shape, hair color… Well, maybe not hair color, but everything you would want to know about a physical object can be seen in artificial colors.

      Take a look at the presentation at Dangerous Prototypes:

      http://dangerousprototypes.com/2011/11/14/defcon-19-build-your-own-radar-system/

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