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MIT Researchers Can See Through Walls Using 'wi-Vi'

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A man wearing 'x-ray specs.'

The Wi-Vi technology uses Wi-Fi signals to track moving objects on the other side of walls.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers are developing Wi-Vi, a system that uses wireless Wi-Fi technology to track moving objects through walls.

MIT professor Dina Katabi says the technology could be built into handheld devices and used in search-and-rescue missions and law enforcement. Katabi notes that consumers might use the technology to see if they are being followed.

Although Wi-Vi currently has very low resolution, the researchers are working on a higher resolution version that would enable it to show recognizable faces.

Wi-Vi works by sending Wi-Fi radio waves through a barrier and measuring the way the waves bounce back, similar to the way radar and sonar work, according to Katabi. Wi-Vi transmits two Wi-Fi signals, one of which is the inverse of the other. When one signal hits a stationary object, the other intercepts it. However, due to the way the signals are encoded, they do not cancel each other out, which makes the reflections from a moving person visible despite there being a wall between that person and the Wi-Vi device.

Although the technology could raise privacy concerns, Katabi notes that, "like all technologies in the world, it depends on us how we use them."

From IDG News Service
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