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These drones use WiFi to ‘see’ through walls

Photo: Mostofi Lab/YouTube

What is privacy?

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have developed a method to use WiFi Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) to see through walls, enabling them to develop high-quality 3D schematics of an unmapped building or area.

Using two drones (each with a large WiFi antenna), one drone blasts a signal through one side of the unmapped structure while the other receives the signal. When the signal passes through different materials, the wave strength diminishes by varying degrees, allowing them to use interpolation software to ‘see’ what’s inside that closed structure.

The drones would take measurements from multiple points around the building to generate a better picture of what’s inside.

Their demonstration as a proof of concept shows that it is possible to successfully map the inside of unknown structures. The image below gives us an idea of what the actual building looks like versus what the software was able to ‘see’ based on the readings it received.

Both Professor Yasamin Mostofi and graduate student Chitra Karanam, say that the technique can be used for emergency response efforts, archeology, and structural monitoring. Of course someone else is going to find a way to use it for other nefarious activities.

You can read up more about the project here.

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