In a statement, the MIT said that the technology dubbed “Wi-Vi’ is based on a concept similar to radar and sonar imaging.
Previous attempts to create similar devices have used expensive and cumbersome radar technology that uses a section of the electromagnetic spectrum reserved for the military. Now a system is being developed that uses low-cost Wi-Fi technology that could give everyone the ability to spot people in different rooms.
Dina Katabi, a professor in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science who is developing the technology said: “We wanted to create a device that is low-power, portable and simple enough for anyone to use, to give people the ability to see through walls and closed doors.”
The technology transmits a low-power Wi-Fi signal and uses its reflections to track moving objects (including humans) even if they are in sealed rooms. This is possible because some of the Wi-Fi signal is able to pass through the wall and bounce off moving objects on the other side.
Wi-Vi will be unveiled at the Sigcomm conference in Hong Kong in August. Possible uses of the technology include helping search-and-rescue teams to find survivors trapped after a disaster, personal safety and for use in interactive gaming.