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New systems are being built to deal with the illegal immigration issue and technology is in the forefront. A new underground border-monitoring system is to be put in place to secure the 2,000 mile border that US shares with Mexico. The system called Helios uses laser pulses that are transmitted through fiber-optic cables in the ground to detect movement on the surface.

An Arizona based company installed a Helios test system in the desert outside Tucson. The fiber-optic cables detect small vibrations caused by any moving object over the surface, specifically illegal immigrants, which distorts the laser in them. The unique signature change in the pulses are identified to the cause of the occurance.

Animals such as coyotes and wolves could also cross that path but Helios is sensitive enough to detech these animals and can discriminate between animals of different sizes. Helios is built by Zonge whose president Scott Urquhart said, “When very small vibrations hit the fiber-optic cables, the cables are slightly distorted. This distortion creates a unique signature change in the laser pulses, which can be detected by the Helios unit.”

Each individual Helios detector can track about 30 miles of cable. The University of Arizona’s College of Engineering are conducting experiments on the Helios system which may soon monitor the entire U.S.-Mexican border.

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