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ACM TechNews

Now You Can See the Invisible

robots send and receive Wi-Fi signals

Two robots use Wi-Fi signals to detect the presence and location of objects behind walls.

Credit: YouTube

University of California, Santa Barbara researchers are using Wi-Fi signals to look through solid walls and see what is on the other side. The patented technology lets users visualize the space on the other side and identify not only the presence of occluded objects, but also their position and geometry, without any prior knowledge of the area. Furthermore, it has the potential to classify the material type of each occluded object such as human, metallic, or wood.

The researchers want to use the imaging technology with automated mobile robots in situations where human access is difficult or risky, and the ability to ascertain what is in a given occluded area is important, such as search and rescue operations for disasters. The technology also can be implemented on a Wi-Fi-enabled device or a Wi-Fi network, where it can be used to monitor the presence and location of objects and people throughout a built space, which opens possibilities for spotting intruders, or watching over senior citizens.

In addition, the technology could provide information for smart building applications to optimize services that depend on the level of occupancy of a building. In the future, the system could be modified to be used in preliminary body scans and health monitoring via a Wi-Fi-enabled handheld device.

From University of California, Santa Barbara
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