Bloodhound Detector Sniffs Out Mobile Phones

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

A US company has developed the “Bloodhound detector” which apparently ‘sniffs out’ and locates mobile phones being used in restricted environments

The end of sneaky phone calls or web browsing from your mobile handset may be in sight, after a company designed a device that will detect and locate any mobile phone being used in a restricted environment.

New Jersey-based Berkeley Varitronics Systems is calling its device the Bloodhound cell phone detector, and the idea is it provides an alternative solution to mobile phone jamming, that will not interfere with 999 calls, public safety communications, or even normal mobile calls in permitted areas.

Apparently the Bloodhound detector is mainly designed for prisons, to stop prisoners getting hold of mobile phones and using them for illegal activities. In Texas for example, the State Senator John Whitmire received threatening calls from a death row inmate using a smuggled cell phone.

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“The Bloodhound will affordably allow correctional facilities to enforce a no cell phone policy since each security officer could potentially be harnessed with a cell phone detector watchdog,” said Scott Schober, President and CEO of Berkeley Varitronics Systems.

But it could be used in a variety of other environments where a mobile phone is not desired.

For example it can used by security personnel or any corporate IT managers, that are looking to enforce a secure wireless-free zone. It can also be used in environments such as cinemas, school examinations, or even for pub quizzes.

The Bloodhound detector works by continually scanning for all mobile phone activity. It has a high speed scanning multi-band receiver harnessed to a phased array dual band DF-Direction Finding Antenna. This allows security officers to ‘sniff out’ RF energy outputted by a mobile phone.

The Bloodhound’s algorithm can lock onto to a mobile phone whilst it is in use, and a headphone jack provides a progressive audible alert tone, and an accompanying vibrator can alert security officers of mobile phone activity as they move closer to the source.

With many staff now using their own mobile phones within the office environment, the problem for companies seeking a ‘wireless environment’ is that traditional jamming technologies have the nasty habit of preventing all mobile signals. The advantage of the Bloodhound device is that it would still allow for authorised communication channels.