Drones use Wi-Fi to See Through Walls

Drones use Wi-Fi to See Through Walls

A new study using two drones and a massive Wi-Fi antenna makes looking through solid walls a successful possibility, according to an article published by the University of California on the June 19, 2017.

Two researchers from the University of California- Santa Barbara, created a two-fold system consisting of two drones and a Wi-Fi antenna, which can literally see through walls.

One drone is used to flash Wi-Fi through the structure and the other is used to pick up signals. The drones then fly around the structure until the differences in wave strength as different points is mapped. Researches have used this information to create a 3D model of a closed building.

The waves keep changing as they penetrate through different structures behind the wall. Once a few passes are made, the drones start mapping the entire structure in high resolution.

“Our proposed approach has enabled unmanned aerial vehicles to image details through walls in 3D with only WiFi signals. This approach utilizes only Wi-Fi RSSI measurements, does not require any prior measurements in the area of interest and does not need objects to move to be imaged.” Said researcher Yasamin Mostofi.

The creation of 2D models were possible at first, however, the system was developed and the team is now able to create 3D models. The system makes use of standard devices such as a simple Wi-Fi router and a Google Tango tablet, it also uses Raspberry Pi and Wi-Fi card for the receiver. These devices help the drones to communicate with each other and act autonomously.

This system has potential for its application in indoor mapping and emergency situations in cases of emergencies to find out what is inside a building without breaching the door. Some interesting archeological applications of this system are also expected, in the future.

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