Latest in Gear

Image credit: MIT CSAIL

AI detects movement through walls using wireless signals

It could help spot disease and take care of the elderly.
872 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

MIT CSAIL

You don't need exotic radar, infrared or elaborate mesh networks to spot people through walls -- all you need are some easily detectable wireless signals and a dash of AI. Researchers at MIT CSAIL have developed a system (RF-Pose) that uses a neural network to teach RF-equipped devices to sense people's movement and postures behind obstacles. The team trained their AI to recognize human motion in RF by showing it examples of both on-camera movement and signals reflected from people's bodies, helping it understand how the reflections correlate to a given posture. From there, the AI could use wireless alone to estimate someone's movements and represent them using stick figures.

The scientists mainly see their invention as useful for health care, where it could be used to track the development of diseases like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's. It could also help some elderly people stay in their own homes by sending alerts if they fall or otherwise show signs of trouble. And since the technology is 83 percent reliable for identifying people in large groups (as many as 100 people), it could be helpful for search-and-rescue operations where it's important to know who you're looking for. Refinements could lead to 3D images that reveal even slight movements, such as a shaking hand.

It's hard to escape the potential privacy concerns. This could theoretically be used to spy on nearby buildings, or follow peopl to their destination even if they duck around a corner. However, CSAIL has a privacy solution in mind: it's developing a "consent mechanism" that would require performing specific movements before tracking kicks in. If that safeguard persisted in real-world applications, you wouldn't have to worry about losing your privacy for the sake of convenience.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
872 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Samsung's fix for Galaxy S10 fingerprint scanning will roll out soon

Samsung's fix for Galaxy S10 fingerprint scanning will roll out soon

View
Apple Pay is more popular than Starbucks for US mobile payments

Apple Pay is more popular than Starbucks for US mobile payments

View
Tesla turns a profit as it spins up trial production in Shanghai

Tesla turns a profit as it spins up trial production in Shanghai

View
Four new 'Adventure Time' specials are heading to HBO Max

Four new 'Adventure Time' specials are heading to HBO Max

View
Microsoft's cloud and LinkedIn grow steadily, while Surface falters

Microsoft's cloud and LinkedIn grow steadily, while Surface falters

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr