This mobile phone can see you, AND what you’re holding

Smartphone attachment sees concealed weapons and explosives

Jon Peddie

We’re catching up with science-fiction. The idea of being able to hold a personal device and scan a room and the people in it, to learn in real time if any of them are of interest, or more darkly,  carrying anything dangerous really is the stuff science-fiction. And yet, it’s here now.

Founded in early 2017 in West Hollywood-based RH (Royal Holdings and Sentinel Technologies; how’s that for a company name) has announced a smartphone snap-on adapter that contains a programmable 3D imaging sensor that penetrates objects via radio frequency technology. When someone like a security agent directs the handheld device at a person and begins scanning, an array of antennae transmits signals towards the individual, illuminating the area in front of the person. The same antennae receive returning signals which are captured and recorded by a SoC in the adapter.



RH call this device, SWORD. It connects to two databases: one for weapons and explosives, one for persons of interest on a watch list developed by the user. The facial recognition feature scans the person’s face, checks the image against the watch list, and alerts the user if there is a match. Should an individual displaying threatening behavior not be on the watch list, SWORD can access an extensive, strictly managed law enforcement database.

These functions occur in milliseconds, giving agents in the field the edge they need to prevent or mitigate a potentially life-threatening situation. The Vayyar SoC collates all necessary data and transmits the resulting information to the mobile app interface which displays a visual 3D graphic of the data. The user can then determine the risk and threat level and take effective action.

Security agents or law enforcement personnel can scan individuals in a crowd or an approaching person of interest from 40 feet away by simply pointing their smartphone at them with the SWORD device attached. They will be able to determine if someone is carrying a weapon or explosive—all without the need for a physical search. And, also rapidly identify a person of interest. SWORD can be used to scan backpacks and handbags that are being carried or have been left unattended. It can also detect listening devices used for espionage and intelligence gathering.

A featureless outline of the person being scanned is displayed, instantly alerting agents to location and type of concealed weapons or explosives. Royal Holdings says they employ AI to crosscheck and verify weapons and explosives via its cloud-based database. In addition, built-in facial recognition operating in real time compares suspects to watch lists for positive identification.

Available only to government agencies and corporate businesses, SWORD could prove to be a life-saving tool for law enforcement agencies, school and university security, executive protection teams, security companies, military personnel, border patrol agents, event companies, casinos, airports, and organizations involved in risk, safety, and security management.

The snap-on SWORD weighs 5-oz., is paired with a Google Pixel 2 XL or Apple iPhone 8 Plus (64 GB), sells for $950 (plus $30 a month), and you can get it in red, green, blue, black and yellow. Delivery is expected in Spring 2019 with demo units to current pre order clients arriving in August.

What do we think?

RH is a relatively new company, but the founders have been involved with their other company TerrorTech since 2015. The snap-on device uses a mmWave 3D imaging Soc from Vayyar, which is the same device found in the Walbot handheld home device that can ee 4 inches/10 cm deep into your walls and detect pipes, studs, wires, even moving rodents. The chip covers imaging and radar bands from 3GHz-81GHz with 72 transmitters and 72 receivers. It has an integrated DSP with internal memory, and does not need any external CPU for its imaging algorithms. RH limits the frequency range to comply with various government regulations (e.g., 3.3 – 10 GHz US,  6.3-8GHz EU/CE).

RH is offering the device to corporations, individuals, executive protections teams, security firms, casinos, hotels etc, as well as three-letter government agencies. – JP