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Tracking Moving People Through Walls Using Wi-Fi Signals

Fadel Adib and Dina Katabi of MIT have developed Wi-Vi, a new technology that can track moving people through walls and behind closed doors using Wi-Fi signals. It can determine with high accuracy up to three moving objects.

The technology relies on capturing the reflections of its own transmitted signals off moving objects behind a wall in order to track them. Wi-Vi encodes its signal across multiple antennas to cancel out all static reflectors at the receive antenna. A Wi-Vi device has two transmit antennas and a single receive antenna, so a person can communicate with it using simple gestures without carrying or wearing any wireless device.

The technology can detect very simple gestures made through a wall, making it the first through-wall gesture-based interface. Applications include emergency situations, personal security, and smart sensing.