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AI Communications Software Wireless Networking Science

MIT's AI Uses Radio Signals To See People Through Walls (inverse.com) 76

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a new piece of software that uses wifi signals to monitor the movements, breathing, and heartbeats of humans on the other side of walls. While the researchers say this new tech could be used in areas like remote healthcare, it could in theory be used in more dystopian applications. Inverse reports: "We actually are tracking 14 different joints on the body [...] the head, the neck, the shoulders, the elbows, the wrists, the hips, the knees, and the feet," Dina Katabi, an electrical engineering and computer science teacher at MIT, said. "So you can get the full stick-figure that is dynamically moving with the individuals that are obstructed from you -- and that's something new that was not possible before." The technology works a little bit like radar, but to teach their neural network how to interpret these granular bits of human activity, the team at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) had to create two separate A.I.s: a student and a teacher.

[T]he team developed one A.I. program that monitored human movements with a camera, on one side of a wall, and fed that information to their wifi X-ray A.I., called RF-Pose, as it struggled to make sense of the radio waves passing through that wall on the other side. The research builds off of a longstanding project at CSAIL lead by Katabi, which hopes to use this wifi tracking to help passively monitor the elderly and automate any emergency alerts to EMTs and medical professionals if they were to fall or suffer some other injury.
For more information, a press release and video about the software are available.

MIT's AI Uses Radio Signals To See People Through Walls

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Cool cover story, will be interesting to see what it's really used for.

  • Dead end (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @11:53PM (#56781546)

    The source signal isn't designed to be used for imaging. Yes, you can train an AI for one particular room and its reflections. This isn't going to transfer to learning in a different set of reflections.

    If you want to look in people's house, just use IR.

  • by BitterOak ( 537666 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @11:59PM (#56781560)
    I'm glad I installed Cat 5e ethernet cable in my home 10 years ago!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Wifi for seeing through walls isn't new:

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/808289/x-ray-vision-wifi-Technical-University-of-Munich (2017)

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352864816300426 (2016)

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/sciencetech/video-1224807/Researchers-WALLS-using-WiFi.html (2015)

    It's the tracking limbs etc that is pretty nifty, but ultimately, just an extension.

  • Man! Those dudes were right! Next they'll be beaming thoughts into peoples' heads.

  • News from 2011. (Score:4, Informative)

    by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Thursday June 14, 2018 @01:18AM (#56781716)

    News from 2011.

    See-Through Walls: Motion Tracking Using Variance-Based Radio Tomography Networks

    https://www.semanticscholar.or... [www.semanticscholar.or] [semanticscholar.org]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      yes but that was in the same room, and required a lot of specific room dimensions and knowledge of the frequency and power. This new research and product attempt builds on that previous pioneering work, which was relatively pointless except as an intellectual exercise and physics proof.

      This one is actually useful, able to 'see' through walls and with machine learning so in theory could be adapted to any situation assuming the radio signal was able to be measured in the way this is measuing the subtle vari

      • Oh no you don't get to explain shit! You get exactly one slashdot article per topic ever, lest we cry dupe immediately from a keyword match! There's no such thing as building on research, especially not when it only says that in TFA. You think I'm going to read the article? Nah, I'm going to read ANOTHER article, do a few searches, just to post how this is late and irrelevant. Improved breakthroughs huh? Let me tell you sir, unless its a minor Linux kernel upgrade, a story about menu changes in the

  • Not just for CSGO anymore...
  • If it is passively getting signals out at the street, it is like looking into an open window.
    The police can then see how many people are in the house and what they are doing.
    It will also be useful at border crossings.
    It will be sold as "Think of the Children and the Elderly". They always get a pass.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I love how it's always some far fetched "healthcare" or whatever.

    Yeah that's what they made this for, health and safety.

  • hopes to use this wifi tracking to help passively monitor the elderly and automate any emergency alerts to EMTs and medical professionals

    Emergency response: this is what researchers put on their grant proposals when the actual end-game is an unpalatable one.

    Actual emergency responders would be technology-enabled supermen if the had even 1% of the tech that's supposedly developed for them.

  • Watch the black mirror episode Metalhead and imagine the robot dogs to have this technology. No point in hiding in a house then. May as well just surrender to the inevitable and present ones neck. Something like this can make most forms of cover irrelevant. This will also be helpful to American chickenhawk cops who want to kill without any risk to themselves.

    • Something like this can make most forms of cover irrelevant.

      Turn off your wifi and you'll be fine. It's might be enough to just move your routers. Machine learning can be very fragile.

  • Jazus Crisco, now we gotta lead-line the WALLS for basic privacy anymore??

    • Jazus Crisco, now we gotta lead-line the WALLS for basic privacy anymore??

      Privacy is dying. If we don't build a better society in which that doesn't matter, we're all well and truly fucked.

  • Thanks to the Supreme Court, especially Scalia, passive scanners cannot be used without a warrant to see through walls. This was an infrared case.

    And sniffing dogs on a porch.

    Of course other countries without a 4th Amendment migjt struggle a bit, and dictatorships roar ahead with a complete panopticon, while our side is limited to merely monitoring everything you do on the Internet or buy or call, i.e. all your papers, 4th Amendment-wise.

    Sigh.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun

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