Radar simulation of human activities in non line-of-sight environments

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Sundar Ram, Shobha, 1982-

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The capability to detect, track and monitor human activities behind building walls and other non-line-of-sight environments is an important component of security and surveillance operations. Over the years, both ultrawideband and Doppler based radar techniques have been researched and developed for tracking humans behind walls. In particular, Doppler radars capture some interesting features of the human radar returns called microDopplers that arise from the dynamic movements of the different body parts. All the current research efforts have focused on building hardware sensors with very specific capabilities. This dissertation focuses on developing a physics based Doppler radar simulator to generate the dynamic signatures of complex human motions in nonline-of-sight environments. The simulation model incorporates dynamic human motion, electromagnetic scattering mechanisms, channel propagation effects and radar sensor parameters. Detailed, feature-by-feature analyses of the resulting radar signatures are carried out to enhance our fundamental understanding of human sensing using radar. First, a methodology for simulating the radar returns from complex human motions in free space is presented. For this purpose, computer animation data from motion capture technologies are exploited to describe the human movements. Next, a fast, simple, primitive-based electromagnetic model is used to simulate the human body. The microDopplers of several human motions such as walking, running, crawling and jumping are generated by integrating the animation models of humans with the electromagnetic model of the human body. Next, a methodology for generating the microDoppler radar signatures of humans moving behind walls is presented. This involves combining wall propagation functions derived from the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulation with the free space radar simulations of humans. The resulting hybrid simulator of the human and wall is used to investigate the effects of both homogeneous and inhomogeneous walls on human microDopplers. The results are further corroborated by basic point-scatterer analysis of different wall effects. The wall studies are followed by an analysis of the effects of flat grounds on human radar signatures. The ground effect is modeled using the method of images and a ground reflection coefficient. A suitable Doppler radar testbed is developed in the laboratory for simulation validation. Measured data of different human activities are collected in both line-of-sight and through-wall environments and the resulting microDoppler signatures are compared with the simulation results. The human microDopplers are best observed in the joint timefrequency space. Hence, suitable joint time-frequency transforms are investigated for improving the display and the readability of both simulated and measured spectrograms. Finally, two new Doppler radar paradigms are considered. First, a scenario is considered where multiple, spatially distributed Doppler radars are used to measure the microDopplers of a moving human from different viewing angles. The possibility of using these microDoppler data for estimating the positions of different point scatterers on the human body is investigated. Second, a scenario is considered where multiple Doppler radars are collocated in a two-dimensional (2-D) array configuration. The possibility of generating frontal images of human movements using joint Doppler and 2-D spatial beamforming is considered. The performance of this concept is compared with that of conventional 2-D array processing without Doppler processing.



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