Big Brother Alert: New Intel System Lets Wi-Fi Find You

You’ll never ask for the password again

By The Editors

Big Brother Alert: New Tech Lets the Wi-Fi Signal Find You
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05 April 2016

In a tech development General Zaroff would be proud of, the hunted may soon become the hunter … at least with regard to your phone’s Wi-Fi transmitter.

The Orwellian role-reversal comes courtesy of a system called Chronos that was developed by researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) which enables Wi-Fi to go looking for wireless users.

By foregoing traditional triangulation methods and instead calculating the “time of flight” it takes for data to travel from a user to an access point, the Chronos system can pinpoint a location to within tens of centimeters in nanoseconds.

The system — which operates without any external sensors — locates its targets by hopping across multiple Wi-Fi channels, recording the measurements and "stitching" together the results.

Wireless Localization with "Chronos" 1:03

In addition to busting people for stealing Wi-Fi, the developers foresee a number of real-world applications for the new technology. “From developing drones that are safer for people to be around, to tracking where family members are in your house, Chronos could open up new avenues for using Wi-Fi in robotics, home automation and more,” says PhD student Deepak Vasisht.

“It would also be really useful to help track a man while hunting him for sport,” he added.

Just kidding. No he didn’t.

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