New Mexico engineers work on new technology to detect terrorism threats

New radar device aimed to detect suicide bombers

New Mexico engineers work on new technology to detect terrorism threats

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Engineers right here in New Mexico are working on new technology that could detect a threat no one else can see.

They say the new device has the potential to protect people from danger and ultimately — save lives.

We’ve seen it recently; terror strikes and no one sees it coming. Engineers with Sandia National Laboratories are working to change that.

“If we’re successful we’ll be saving lives,” said Sandia Labs Scientist, JR Russel.

Through the New Mexico Small Business Assistance Program, Russell is working with Robby Roberson and R3 technologies on a game-changing radar system.

“There is no technology in the market anywhere that will scan and look for a suicide bomber, and find them,” said R3 Technologies Manager, Robby Roberson. “It doesn’t exist.”

Roberson’s dad, Coda Roberson, started working on a system years ago that can do that. The World War II veteran died before he could see it through.

“He felt he owed his country something,” said Roberson.

Now, Roberson and Russell have almost perfected the technology.

Russel explained suicide bombers often use simple materials like ceramic balls, nails, or even rocks, to act as shrapnel with an explosive. Now, their concealed bomb detector, or CBD-1000, can find things a metal detector cannot using radar signals.

If there’s no threat, the return signal is a vertically polarized signal. If a threat exists, they’ll also see a horizontal return signal.

To see how the transmitter works when KRQE News 13’s Gabrielle Burkhart tested sample materials, watch the video above.

Russell said something like this device can be used to screen people at airports, sporting events, or political rallies. The goal is to protect people.

“To me, this would be the crowning achievement that ‘We did it, Dad,’” said Roberson. “What you wanted, we did. And it’s out there and it’s making a difference.”

If everything goes as planned, engineers hope to see this on the market within the next year. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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