RF Capture, a new method for looking through walls


Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a method to detect human motion behind a wall using wireless signals. The team at MIT’s CSAIL (Computer Science Artificial Intelligence Lab) uses radio frequencies to take snapshots of humans behind a wall, the shots resemble heat maps, and are then reassembled using a computer reconstruction algorithm, resulting in a vague silhouette of the person.

The developers say the RF-Capture emits only 1/10,000 of the radiation that a smartphone emits, and can differentiate between different people and their posture. With an accuracy in detecting motion comparable to Microsoft’s Kinect, the device could tell you who is where and doing what in a building.

The first thought would be military use, but the developers are aiming at more peaceful applications, like motion capture in movie making or smart homes that can automatically call an emergency number if it detects someone falling or already on the ground.  

The team has already used this technology to develop Emerald, a monitoring system for caregivers or children with elderly parents, it is meant to detect, predict, and maybe prevent falls, without needing an extra wearable device.

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