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Inductive Circuit Sensor for Intrusion Detection


Sandia’s intrusion detection system uses inductive power transfer to reliably sense whether a barrier has been opened, closed, or breached relative to a stationary surface.


Over the last forty years, balanced magnetic switching (BMS) has become the standard form of intrusion detection for secure sites throughout the United States. BMS systems rely on permanent magnets which can detect if a door has been opened or closed but not when it has been breached or penetrated. High security sites require enhanced forms of intrusion detection to supplement BMS systems. Alternative systems such as video analytics or passive infrared sensors perform best in static ambient conditions, which are difficult to maintain and frequently result in nuisance alarms.

By combining techniques in inductive power transfer and automated tailored wire placement, Sandia researchers have developed a superior form of intrusion detection that can reliably detect whether a barrier has been opened, closed, or breached relative to a stationary surface. This sensor system uses inductive power transfer to create a circuit between two power coils. A highly configurable, modular stitched sensor panel or wire path is placed in series with the coils and embedded within the barrier to create a continuity sensor. When the two coils are placed over each other with their central axis aligned, a current is generated in the receiving coil. If the surfaces are separated or if the stitched sensor is disrupted, an intrusion is detected and will trigger the system alarm.

Due to its modular design, sensors can be placed in custom configurations within large or varied surface areas. This new approach can provide a more sophisticated form of intrusion detection for high-value assets in secure settings of all kinds.


  • Reliably detects open, close, and breach of barrier
  • Highly configurable, highly accurate sensor placement
  • Low-cost solution
  • May be customized for unique security barrier types and settings, ranging from large to small surface areas
  • Potential to add diagnostics for characterizing intrusion type and anti-spoofing

Applications and Industries

  • Intrusion detection for diverse articles
  • Asset protection
  • Security and defense
  • Infrastructure
  • Shipping and logistics

Intellectual Property

ID Number
Patent Number
Inductive circuit sensor system and method 15050.0 11,074,795 07/27/2021
Technology IDSD 15050Development StageDevelopment - TRL 5AvailabilityAvailablePublished10/18/2021Last Updated10/18/2021