MIT machine can track movement through walls!

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

MIT motion tracker tech
MIT plans to make their system smaller and more compact, like the Xbox Kinect.

Do you ever get the weird feeling that someone is watching you through a computer webcam or an unused Xbox Kinect? Some paranoid individuals even feel the need to cover their laptop cams with a colorful post-it note just to make sure. Well, their efforts will be pointless against MIT’s latest invention, which can track movements through walls.

Yeah, a thin piece of paper doesn’t seem like such a smart trick anymore, huh? That’s because the system uses low-power radio waves to monitor anyone or anything tiptoeing behind a thick wall! Signals are sent out through two rather large antennas that bounce back to a third receiving antenna.

If a body is detected, the MIT machine can “see” where it is moving and represent its location as a dot on the screen. It’s like the little dot that comes out on a smartphone map when you’re using GPS, only much more powerful and accurate.

However, there are a few drawbacks. For example, the system can only keep track of one person at a time. If there is too much commotion, it gets confused! Also, everything else near the person has to stay still. That being said, once the system is perfected, it can be extremely useful for law enforcement agencies who need to know if there are bad guys lurking around the corner waiting to ambush them. Emergency rescue units can also use the tech to detect survivors in the crumbling ruins of a collapsed building! For ordinary people, the machine would be great as a monitoring tool for babies or the elderly.

Soon, the MIT researchers plan to cut it down to the size of an Xbox Kinect! Hmm, I wonder if it’ll ever find its way into video game technology…

Images courtesy of Network World Videos on YouTube.