Using simple radio signals, MIT researchers can pinpoint someone's location -- through a wall -- with near exact precision.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed a device that can see through walls and pinpoint a person with incredible accuracy. They call it the "Kinect of the future," after Microsoft's Xbox 360 motion sensing camera.
Shown publicly this week for the first time the project from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Laboratory (CSAIL) used three radio antennas spaced about a meter apart and pointed at a wall. A desk cluttered with wires and circuits generated and interpreted the radio waves. On the other side of the wall a single person walked around the room and the system represented that person as a red dot on a computer screen. The system tracked the movements with an accuracy of plus or minus 10 centimeters, which is about the width of an adult hand.
Fadel Adib, a Ph.D student on the project, said that gaming could be one use for the technology, but that localization is also very important. He said that Wi-Fi localization, or determining someone's position based on Wi-Fi, requires the user to hold a transmitter, like a smartphone for example.
"What we're doing here is localization through a wall without requiring you to hold any transmitter or receiver [and] simply by using reflections off a human body," he said. "What is impressive is that our accuracy is higher than even state of the art Wi-Fi localization."