Researchers have made X-ray vision a reality as a new type of Wifi device has been developed that allows people to see through concrete walls.
Using a wireless transmitter, scientists have developed the device that can map a nearby room in 3D whilst scanning for human bodies.
Using the signals that bounce and reflect off these people, the device creates an accurate silhouette and can even use this silhouette to identify who that person is.
The device is called RF Capture and it was developed by researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL).
It has long been thought that wireless signals, such as Wi-Fi, can be used to see things that are invisible to the naked eye.
With this in mind the researchers have been developing technologies that use wireless signals to track human motion since 2013.
As part of its latest research, the team has shown that these technologies can detect gestures and body movements as subtle as the rise and fall of a person’s chest from the other side of a house.
This could allow a mother to monitor a baby’s breathing, for example, or help a firefighter determine if there are survivors inside a burning building.
The RF Capture device transmits wireless signals that travel through a wall and reflect off a person’s body back to the device.
It begins by scanning the 3D space to capture wireless reflections of objects in the room, including any human bodies.
Since only a small number of body parts reflect the signal back at any given point in time, the device monitors how these reflections vary as someone moves and walks.
It can then intelligently stitch the person’s reflections across time to reconstruct their silhouette into a single image.
Once captured, these reflections are analysed.
To differentiate between people, the team repeatedly tested and trained the device on different subjects, using metrics such as height and shape to create concrete ‘silhouette fingerprints’ for each person.
During tests, the device was able to trace a person’s hand as he wrote in mid-air, and could even distinguish between 15 different people through a wall with nearly 90 per cent accuracy.
In other words, from the opposite side of a building RF Capture can determine where that person is, who they are, and even which hand they are moving.
The researchers said the technology could have major implications for everything from gaming and film-making to emergency-response and elder-care.