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WiTrack – Through-Wall 3D Tracking Using Body Radio Reflections (mit.edu)
65 points by wamatt on Dec 31, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 8 comments

This development is pretty damn cool. At Electromagnetic Wave in London earlier this year, I went to a talk held by someone working on similar research, but using wifi signals. At that time, they didn't have the fidelity of this proposed system.

Talking to other attendees of EMW, I voiced my scepticism of the need for this over CCTV image analysis. My instinct was that a reasonable CCTV setup would get you 80% of the way towards your goal. I bumped into someone with professional experience at image & video analysis - turns out that the limitations of video are such that this sort of remote monitoring would actually give better quality data than camera feed analysis, at least if you factor in the relative cost of installing adequate enough cameras.

The biggest use for a system like this probably isn't gaming, home automation, or remote monitoring. Imagine instead knowing not where people are in a shop, but roughly what they are looking at, how they are each moving, tracking it all the way through to what they buy. Whilst there are lots of exciting security uses for systems like this, shopping analytics is where there are clear financial gains to be made (remember that investments to reduce costs typically look for >20% savings, but when increasing revenue 2% can be a lot!)

Of course, the big question here is range, and how many simultaneous targets this can track.

(and as a final note: now shrink this and give me my motion sensor alá Aliens ;) )

Couldn't this be used to watch peoples movements in a house from the street?

In any case with the NSA's ubiquitous tracking and ability to compromise networked systems at will... this scares me and the privacy risks absolutely outweigh any potential benefit

Yes, but it would be covered by the same precedents as e.g. thermal imaging tools, which is that a warrant is necessary for evidence gathered to be admissible.

Time to switch all your wireless devices to 802.11a to prevent signal leakage outside your home.

Similar to UW's WiSee:


not really, WiSee cannot get the position of the person/hand. It rather relies on doppler, so it can only tell if someone (or his hand) is getting closer or further away.

In fact, WiSee is more similar to WiVi (previous work by this group from MIT): http://people.csail.mit.edu/fadel/wivi/

I would like to know, how far from the market is this?

Be interested to know what kind of range it has...

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