"So, we've got ourselves a life-signs detector."
Aiden Ford[src]

Life signs detectors are small devices that the Lanteans developed in the Pegasus Galaxy.


A life signs detector held in a hand.

Hand held devices, they can detect various life signs, but they are incapable of differentiating between species. They are also incapable of detecting the Wraith if they are hibernating. They require the Ancient Technology Activation gene to use, and have a range of one hundred meters. They have also been show to be able to detect energy signatures and radiation even underground. (SGA: "Rising", "Home", "The Gift", "The Siege, Part 2", "Runner", "Vengeance")

There are also citywide life signs detectors on City-ships, including Atlantis, that can also identify the type of life form (species.) (SGA: "The Siege, Part 2")

Behind the scenes

Stargate Wiki has a collection of images related to Life signs detector.
  • In Rising, the life signs detectors were clearly able to differentiate between humans (blue) and Wraith (red). In later episodes, they did not have this ability. It may just be that the user can select certain signs on the screen and change their color to red for usability purposes or the ability may have been considered too powerful and a deus ex machina so it was changed.
  • It is also possible to upload maps to the detector, so walls and other built structures would be shown additional to the life signs. This was once used to upload a Hive ship map, but due to changes to the ship's structure this was not useful. (SGA: "Infection") The device also appears to have a map of Atlantis in its memory. (SGA: "The Storm", "The Eye")
  • The on-screen prop appears to be an HP IPAQ 5555 in a special acrylic case.


References and notes