Drones have learned to "see through walls" using Wi-Fi

Three years ago, scientists from the University of California, Santa Barbara presented Wi-Fi-based "alternative X-ray" technology. Since then, they have stepped forward and upward by mastering 3D object scanning. Having hung scanners on drones and developed new calculation algorithms, they learned how to build three-dimensional models of obstacles. And "see" what is behind them.

The essence of the technology is that a pair of drones synchronously moves along an obstacle, on both sides. One machine is equipped with a Wi-Fi emitter, and the second does not just receive the signal, but constantly measures its characteristics. When passing through obstacles, the signal attenuates - if you compare the dynamics of the process with points on the object, you can calculate the location of voids and obstacles inside it.

The accuracy of measurement and the detailing of the built model resemble the angular pixel “three-dimensional” games of the end of the last century. However, the technology works and is notable for its low cost and ease of use. In areas such as the study of architectural structures, the search for objects under rubble, structural monitoring of structures.

Wi-Fi signal, unlike real X-ray radiation, is much less harmful to living beings. And the power consumption is lower than that of lidars, sonars and other types of space scanners. Using programmable drones as a scanner platform gives you the chance to quickly and easily look where other bulky equipment cannot be delivered. There are solid advantages, but Californians are still keeping quiet about the commercial application of the development.