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June 16, 2014

Wireless breakthrough could make the invisible visible

Wi-Fi wave technology can detect gestures behind a wall with 99% accuracy.

By CBR Staff Writer

Researchers from MIT Wireless Center of the Computer Science and Artificial intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a wireless system which can track movement through a wall using WiFi waves.

Scientists claim that using WiFi waves, they can detect subtle gestures like rise and fall of a person’s chest through which a person’s heart rate can be measured with 99% accuracy.

The technology can be used in health-tracking apps, baby monitors, and for the military and law enforcement, the scientists claimed.

MIT electrical engineering and computer science professor and co-author of the research paper, Dina Katabi said, "It has traditionally been very difficult to capture such minute motions that occur at the rate of mere millimeters per second."

"Being able to do so with a low-cost, accessible technology opens up the possibilities for people to be able to track their vital signs on their own," Katabi added.

The system can monitor the movement of four people behind a wall, and could be useful in rescue and operations in a building especially during fire accident.

As part of the research, the system monitors the movements by transmitting a low-power wireless signal and catching back its reflections.

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It can also track the movements of humans staying behind closed rooms or hiding behind a wall.

The scientists created a technology which can segregate signal interference from other objects while the signal reflects, cancelling out irrelevant reflections.

The team include Robert Miller, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and graduate students Fadel Adib and Zach Kabalec, are now working on a higher resolution system which can detect actual body silhouettes, gestures, and even emotions.

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