SafeScan Gives New Dimensions to Warfighters by Letting them “See” Inside Buildings

With SafeScan seeing through walls gives anti-terror and hostage teams the ability to detect static and moving individuals.

Ed Nash
20 November 2020
A 3D map showing an individual moving down a corridor, being mapped in real time (Video courtesy of IceniLabs)



It sounds like something out of a James Bond or superhero movie, but seeing through walls is exactly what Iceni Labs claims its new SafeScan handheld radar can do.

Created with UK Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) funding, SafeScan uses ultra-wideband radar to provide anti-terror and hostage teams with a tactical “sense through the wall” capability for small teams operating in dense, highly contested urban environments. Operators can visually 3-D map a building’s interior to detect static and moving individuals.

“In an operational context, it will give users the ability to identify individuals in real time through barriers such as walls and doors without the requirement to physically penetrate a structure with personnel or surveillance equipment, ”Alex Giles, chief commercial officer at Iceni Labs told Defence Procurement International.

SafeScan is undergoing trials and user feedback by UK small unit teams, with production set to begin in 2021. Trials with international users including the US, France and Australia are set to commence in early 2021. 

Though currently designed with anti-terror and hostage teams in mind, Giles confirmed that next year Iceni will be working to integrate SafeScan on both unmanned aerial and ground vehicles. They are also working with an international customer to build more powerful versions of the system for mounting on vehicles to provide greater range.

SafeScan recently played a part in winning  the National Security Innovation Network’s (NSIN’s) Situational Awareness in Dense Urban Environments 2020 Online Challenge. The event challenged teams to develop novel sensing concepts to support personnel operating in urban environments.

Participating as part of Team Tercio, a UK-US industry team, Safescan’s ability to scan a structure and show the positions and movement of persons within it demonstrated its potential to provide real-time situational awareness for warfighters in urban tactical environments.





Measuring approximately 20cm x 20cm and weighing in at less than 1lb, SafeScan also has applications outside of the military. The SafeScan RespiSense is a medical variant which is a non-contact device that offers medical staff the ability to monitor the vital signs of patients remotely.

“The device continually remotely and non-invasively monitors the respiration rate of patients and has the capability to deliver this key information and alert the medical team of changes in the patient’s respiration rate via any connected smart device,” says Giles. “The RespiSense reduces exposure of medical staff to potentially dangerous infections.”

With the Covid-19 pandemic highlighting the risks run by medical personnel in close contact with patients, RespiSense is currently undergoing clinical trials with a number of medical research organisations in the UK.

Iceni also developed a version in 2019 that was tested by police in Scotland, which enabled officers to monitor individuals in police custody suites, measuring breathing rates and alerting staff to impending health emergencies.

The company is also working on two other UK DASA-funded projects to develop cutting-edge acoustic microphone and thermal weapon sight technologies. Though they are “limited as to what we can talk about, no doubt the industry can expect to see more innovative solutions being developed by Iceni Labs.