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Superman-like X-ray vision now a reality through Wi-Fi technology

Last Updated: Saturday, June 29, 2013 - 11:02

Washington: We could all now have Superman-like X-ray vision - thanks to researchers at MIT`s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Researchers have long attempted to build a device capable of seeing people through walls.

However, previous efforts to develop such a system have involved the use of expensive and bulky radar technology that uses a part of the electromagnetic spectrum only available to the military.

Now a system being developed by Dina Katabi, a professor in MIT`s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and her graduate student Fadel Adib, could give all of us the ability to spot people in different rooms using low-cost Wi-Fi technology.

"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," Katabi said.

The system, called "Wi-Vi," is based on a concept similar to radar and sonar imaging.

But in contrast to radar and sonar, it transmits a low-power Wi-Fi signal and uses its reflections to track moving humans. It can do so even if the humans are in closed rooms or hiding behind a wall.

To do this, the system uses two transmit antennas and a single receiver.

The two antennas transmit almost identical signals, except that the signal from the second receiver is the inverse of the first.

As a result, the two signals interfere with each other in such a way as to cancel each other out.

Since any static objects that the signals hit - including the wall - create identical reflections, they too are cancelled out by this nulling effect.

In this way, only those reflections that change between the two signals, such as those from a moving object, arrive back at the receiver, Adib said.


First Published: Saturday, June 29, 2013 - 11:02

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