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"I've come across more and more people who've actually tried reading science fiction and can't make it make sense."
- Samuel R. Delany

Life Detector  
  A device that was capable of detecting living tissue within a set radius.  

This device was able to sense the presence of life directly, without using auxiliary signs (like carbon dioxide or heat emission).

The antennae of the Life Detector atop the OP swept back and forth in a rhythmic halfcircle like so many frozen sticks brittle with rime ice...

One operator - drugged to shivering wakefulness - stood watch in the OP. The space around him was barely six feet in diameter, crammed with equipment, gridded screens glowing a pale green with spots that indicated living flesh: a covey of ptermigan, a possible Artic fox. Every grid point on the screens held an aiming code for mortar fire.

From Cease Fire, by Frank Herbert.
Published by Conde Nast in 1958
Additional resources -

See the entry for Life Detector Shield for more discussion.

This is an early use of the concept; it comes ten years before the "sensor scans" of Star Trek fame.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Cease Fire
  More Ideas and Technology by Frank Herbert
  Tech news articles related to Cease Fire
  Tech news articles related to works by Frank Herbert

Life Detector-related news articles:
  - Life Detector Robot To Find Life On Distant Worlds
  - Urey Life Detector
  - LifeReader Senses The Enemy Through Walls
  - Cougar20-H Robot Hears Your Breathing
  - NASA FINDER To The Rescue In Nepal

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