When we received an order for our microwave detection technology to be installed at a large steel production plant in India, none of us here at Advanced Perimeter Systems were aware of the country’s role in the development of microwave science. Today we put that right and acknowledge the pioneering work of an Indian scientist who was unique amongst his peers.
This year sees the 160th anniversary of the birth of Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (New York) described him as ‘one of the fathers of radio science – a wonderfully succinct way of summarizing a life of selfless dedication to the advancement of engineering science.
When formulating his ideas and making new discoveries, Bose would sometimes give public demonstrations. A notable example was in 1894 at the Town Hall of Kolkata. In a public demonstration he ignited gunpowder and rang a bell at a distance using millimetre range wavelength microwaves. He described his discovery as ‘Invisible Light’ and wrote of it: “The invisible light can easily pass through brick walls, buildings etc. Therefore, messages can be transmitted by means of it without the mediation of wires.”
Bose was from the same pioneering era as Tesla, a little younger than Edison and 16 years older than Marconi. Unlike Marconi and Edison before him, however, Bose was not interested in the commercial application of his scientific research; he often did not register patents even when urged by friends and colleagues to do so! Instead, he openly shared his discoveries with other scientists and inventors and encouraged them to take his ideas and make their own commercial use of them. A good example is the ‘imperfect junction coherer‘, a radio wave receiver developed by Bose that Marconi went on to use in building an operational two-way radio.
In terms of apparatus using microwave frequencies, Bose kept himself busy with a variety of inventions including the crystal radio detector, waveguide and horn antenna. Right is a diagram of the 60 GHz microwave receiver and transmitter apparatus which he designed. The receiver used a galena crystal detector inside a horn antenna and galvanometer to detect microwaves. The diagram was published in a paper written by Bose in 1897.
Thanks to a strong sense of dedication combined with a unique, altruistic approach, Bose unquestionably speeded up the development of wireless communication. The result is the myriad of applications we see today, including our own microwave intrusion detection system.
As manufacturers of perimeter security systems we invest and engage in our own programme of research and design and one of the most notable examples of this involved wireless communication. A client required a high security solution for the protection of explosives stores which were located over a large outdoor area (26km). The problem was that the stores had to be moved around the site periodically and there was no scope for laying cables. So we designed and produced a highly specialized, solar powered and wireless system. For sites where hazardous materials are stored, having an intrinsically safe security system is of paramount importance.