Evaluating the practical range of harmonic radar to detect smart electronics


Beatrice Perez, Cesar Arguello, Timothy J. Pierson, Gregory Mazzaro, and David Kotz. Evaluating the practical range of harmonic radar to detect smart electronics. Proceedings of the IEEE Military Communications Conference (MILCOM), pages 528–535. IEEE, October 2023. doi:10.1109/MILCOM58377.2023.10356371. ©Copyright IEEE.


Prior research has found that harmonic radar systems are able to detect the presence of electronic devices, even if the devices are powered off. These systems could be a powerful tool to help mitigate privacy invasions. For example, in a rental property devices such as cameras or microphones may be surreptitiously placed by a landlord to monitor renters without their knowledge or consent. A mobile harmonic radar system may be able to quickly scan the property and locate all electronic devices. The effective range of these systems for detecting consumer-grade electronics, however, has not been quantified. We address that shortcoming in this paper and evaluate a prototype harmonic radar system. We find the system, a variation of what has been proposed in the literature, is able to reliably detect some devices at a range of about two meters. We discuss the effect of hardware on the range of detection and propose an algorithm for automated detection.

Citable with [BibTeX]

Projects: [splice]

Keywords: [iot] [privacy] [security] [sensors] [wifi]

Available from the publisher: [DOI]

Available from the author: [bib]
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[Kotz research]