Things might be getting a little more difficult for the James Bonds and Jason Bournes of the world. A new system developed by Prof. Uwe Hartmann at Germany’s Saarland University utilizes the Earth’s magnetic fields to instantly determine when and where a security fence has been breached.

The technology is known as the Vibromag Cable, and incorporates a long cable containing regularly-spaced magnetometer probes. That cable is permanently or temporarily added to an existing metal fence, or it can be buried in the ground underneath one.

Should anyone try to cut, climb, or otherwise mess with the fence, the activity will cause tiny disturbances in the naturally-occurring magnetic fields in the immediate vicinity. The magnetometers closest to the source of the activity will detect those disturbances, and transmit that information to a central computer. Algorithms are currently being developed, to filter out fence-disturbance signals generated by things such as wind or animals.

“The smart sensor cable does not require any major conversion work to be carried out before it can be used, and makes barbed wire and camera surveillance superfluous,” said Hartmann.

The university is currently working with Votronic Technology to commercialize the Vibromag Cable.