For long, mankind has craved for supernatural powers. Among these fantasies seeing through walls and knowing what lies in the other side of an obstacle has been sought for by many. Scientists and engineers have also tried to devise techniques to make this happen, often for completely different reasons. A new Wi-Fi radar prototype, developed by researchers at University College London, may finally be able to accomplish this.
The basic principle behind this new radar is as same as actual radars, which are usually deployed to detect objects in the air. This is usually done by emitting signals which, when reflected by an object, can tell its location as well as its speed and size. The problem is, conventional radars work only in open space; they can detect objects but can’t see through them.
Karl Woodbridge and Kevin Chetty applied the simple principle behind radars to create an extra-ordinary device. It is basically a Wi-Fi radar which can detect Wi-Fi radio signals in any room. It then detects the changes to these signals, which essentially happens when they bounce off from different objects. Based on this data, it can gauge the location of moving objects.
The radar is the size of a suitcase. It contains a radio receiver that comprises of two antennas and a signal-processing unit. With the help of this rather simple equipment, researchers were able to discern the location, direction and speed of a moving object on the other side of the wall. The device is able to detect a person’s location through a wall as thick as one foot. And the best part is that since the device itself doesn’t emit any signals, it remains undetected.
According to stats, Wi-Fi radio signals are found in 61 percent US homes. And on a worldwide scale, they are found in 25% homes. This makes the new radar fairly practical and workable in a lot of places.
The researchers are hopeful that they can work further on the radar to make it more accurate. According to Woodbridge, a member of the research team,”The device could become sensitive enough to pick up on subtle motions the ribcage makes during breathing, which would allow the radar to detect people who are standing or sitting still.”
The new device may be used by anti-terrorism forces to detect and combat fugitives in critical situations, such as bank robbery, hostage recovery etc.
Courtesy: Pop Science