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X-Ray Eyes in the Sky


Two drones fly outside an structure to collect Wi-Fi RSSI measurements for through-wall imaging.

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have demonstrated the use of two aerial drones for three-dimensional imaging of objects through walls.

Credit: Chitra R. Karanam, Yasamin Mostofi

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) have demonstrated three-dimensional (3D) imaging of objects through walls using Wi-Fi signals.

The technique involves two drones working in tandem, and could be used in emergency search-and-rescue missions, archaeological discovery, and structural monitoring.

The approach utilizes only Wi-Fi RSSI measurements, requires no prior measurement in the area of interest, and does not need objects to move to be imaged, notes UCSB professor Yasamin Mostofi.

In the experiment, two autonomous octocopters take off and fly outside a house whose interior is unknown to the drones. One drone continuously transmits a Wi-Fi signal, the received power of which is measured by the other drone. The drones employ the imaging methodology to reveal the area behind the walls and generate high-resolution 3D images of the objects inside.

"Our proposed approach has enabled unmanned aerial vehicles to image details through walls in 3D with only Wi-Fi signals," Mostofi says.

From The UC Santa Barbara Current
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