Cell phone 'Bloodhound' holds potential for corporate, correctional applications

Berkeley Varitronics Systems, a New Jersey-based developer of wireless solutions, recently released a new cell phone detector dubbed the "Bloodhound."

The Bloodhound has the ability to pick up cell phone signals from as far away as 50 feet under the right conditions and could be the type of solution that businesses and prison institutions need to fight the ever growing problems of illicit cell phone use.

"The industry had a need for a hand-held device that could detect on and locate wireless cell phones," said Carmine Caferra, eastern U.S. and Canadian regional sales manager for BVS.

According to Caferra, the Bloodhound doesn't transmit a signal to try and find wireless devices; rather it has a receiver that listens for the most popular phone bands in North America. Once a call or any other type of multimedia signal is transmitted from the phone, the Bloodhound hones in on the signal, measures the strength and enables the operator to locate the source. In addition to both audible and vibration alerts, the device also uses a laser spot to trace where the signal is coming from.

Caferra added that the device has been deployed at a variety of environments in an effort to get a case study on how it reacts in different applications. Thus far, Caferra said the feedback they've received has been positive.

The government has also expressed a general interest in technology like the Bloodhound, however, Scott Schober, CEO of BVS, said that it would be a challenge to use the device in attempt to find a cell phone that might be used as an explosives detonator.

"The primary mode (on the Bloodhound) is when a call is being made, or text or data is being sent, that is the easiest way to find a phone," he said. "You can also find (the cell phone) if it's in the stand by or idle mode, but it's not as easy... it could be a matter of minutes before it has a short burst and says 'here I am.'"

There is a lot of potential for the Bloodhound in the corporate and correctional facilities markets, where cell phones can be used to steal private information and disrupt operations respectively.

If you want to get a first hand look at the Bloodhound, BVS will be holding demonstrations at several upcoming tradeshows. A complete Bloodhound system retails for $1,800.