Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have designed a device that can see through walls and identify people.
Professors at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, along with research students, have developed this device based on the “RF-Capture” technology.
This technology tracks the 3D positions of a person’s limbs and body parts even when he or she is fully obstructed from its sensor, and does so without placing any markers on the body. It sends out radio frequency signals which upon hitting the person standing behind the wall returns to the device for analysis.
According to the paper published on the university website, the device can detect who the person behind a wall is, trace his or her handwriting in the air and can determine how they are moving.
Take a look at a video explaining the research.
Who is going to use it?
According to the developers, the technology can be used by doctors to monitor their patient’s activities inside a closed room. It can expand the reach of gaming consoles, like the Xbox Kinect, or gesture recognition sensors embedded in smart TVs, to operate through obstructions and cover multiple rooms.
They would also enable a new form of ubiquitous sensing which can understand users’ activities, learn their habits, and monitor or react to their needs.
According to VICE news, this may result in the police using the device without a warrant which might lead to privacy issues. It may also lead to situations where people’s movements are monitored inside their homes without their knowledge.
“In hostage situations, you might want to understand how people are moving inside, and understand who the victim and the hostage-taker is. This can be very important in law enforcement. It is true that there are privacy concerns, but even in terms of surveillance, there are beneficial applications,” Fadel Adib, the paper’s lead author, told VICE.
The RF-Capture device will be available for public consumption in another year.