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Sensor Fence: A New Approach to Large-Perimeter Security

NCJ Number
Corrections Today
Andrew F. Mazzara; David C. Swanson; Nicholas C. Nicholas
Date Published
2 pages

This report describes the sensor fence, a tensioned wire system used to detect, locate, and classify intruders.


Developed by the Institute for Emerging Defense Technologies (IEDT) at Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory, the sensor fence is a low-cost, low-maintenance alternative to the expensive high-tech fences already on the market. The sensor fence involves a tensioned wire system that can be installed on new or existing fences to secure large areas such as correctional facilities or airports. The sensor fence works by detecting vibrations at any point along the fence and then transmitting the information to its software component, which analyzes the information and classifies the disturbance, for instance as wind or a human intruder, and can also pinpoint the disturbance within 50 feet. The system is designed to reject environmental noises while still detecting the type of vibrations produced by a human trying to gain entrance. During 1 year of continuous operation at a testing site, no maintenance has been required and any future repairs are estimated to be low cost. Exhibits