By 'freezing' atoms in place with lasers, the team have been able to measure how the particles are affected by the tiny gravitional pulls of objects around them.
After feeding these measurements into a computer, a 3D map of objects around them can be created.
The device, once perfected, would act like a super-accurate radar, possibly capable of detecting movements inside rooms and buildings, even with a wall in the way.
Speaking to the paper, Neil Stansfield from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory said the device could be used to see underground, potentially having civilian applications if workmen used it to find the location of subterranean pipes and cables.
Significantly for the military, the device would also be un-jammable, unlike existing radar systems. Since the device only measures the gravitational pull on an object, rather than sending out waves, its detection system could not be interfered with as easily.
The team's discovery is detailed in an upcoming BBC Horizon documentary, Project Greenglow: The Quest for Gravity Control, which airs at 8PM on 23 March.
The programme takes its name from a BAE Systems project from the 1990s, which investigated the possibilities of anti-gravity technology for flight. Nasa also looked in to novel propulsion methods involving gravity from 1996 to 2002, although their work was purely theoretical.
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