Researchers at MIT have been hard at work on a new technology they call RF-Pose. RF-Pose allows users to identify and track people through walls. The technology is being developed with the idea of monitoring elderly and sick patients. But there is also the concern that the technology may become a privacy issue, depending on its application.
RF-Pose has the ability to show what a subject is doing behind a wall in a sort of X-ray like result. The technology can also identify, with 83% accuracy, people from “known groups.” Researchers say the technology could be useful in law enforcement and healthcare.
“We’ve seen that monitoring patients’ walking speed and ability to do basic activities on their own gives healthcare providers a window into their lives that they didn’t have before, which could be meaningful for a whole range of diseases,” Dina Katabi, a computer scientist at MIT and leader of the group, said in a statement.
The technology, which uses artificial intelligence to interpret radio wave data, grows out of earlier work by the same group. Previous versions of the technology could detect a person’s silhouette behind a wall, but Katabi said this is the first time it’s been possible to closely track and identify people.
The heart of RF-Pose is a laptop-sized radio transmitter. The radio waves it beams out pass through walls but are reflected by human bodies because of their high water content. Computer algorithms analyze the reflected waves, homing in on the head, hands, feet and other key body parts to produce moving stick figures on a screen.
It’s interesting technology and it will be interesting to see what sorts of applications it’s used in. More importantly, it will be interesting if the technology is expanded and built on in the future.
Last Updated on July 9, 2018.