Wi-Fi Can Be Used to Photograph People Through Walls

Scientists pioneer way to do what humans can't using wireless internet wavelengths.

May 23, 2017 4:57 pm
Wi-fi can give outsiders a peek into your home by seeing through walls. (Getty Images)
Wi-fi can give outsiders a peek into your home by seeing through walls. (Getty Images)

Wireless internet can give others a peek into your life—and no longer just through social media.

Researchers have developed a way to take holograms, or 3D photographs, through walls using wi-fi transmissions. Anything in a room that’s larger than four centimeters can be seen from outside, according to Business Insider.

Created by scientists at the Technical University of Munich, the system uses two communicating antennae to scan the room. One stays in place, while the other moves around the room recording the intensity of the wi-fi signal, or brightness, as it’s blocked by objects or reverberates off walls.

How Holl’s system works (Philipp M. Holl and Friedemann Reinhard)

The method has a wide array of applications, from emergency rescues to espionage. That may do little to calm the fears over potential privacy issues if the process is used less altruistically.

Philipp Holl, who built the spy-like set-up, told Business Insider it could scan and entire building in under 30 seconds if equipped on a drone.

Using wi-fi for x-ray vision isn’t an entirely new concept. In 2015, MIT computer science students figured out a way to take photos through walls. However, Holl’s method is the first to be able to create a three-dimensional image.

In early Mat, the technique was published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

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