You may not know this but ordinary WiFi signals can be used to detect suspicious objects like explosives, ammunition or even any type of liquid. Scientists at Rutgers University have performed a study in the result of which they finally found a way to come forth with a low-cost solution to object scanning with the help of WiFi signals.
Traditionally the screening process at the airports, public places or important buildings requires costly and specialized equipment as well as high staffing whereas this suspicious object detection system is cost-saving and easy to set up. It also avoids the invasion of privacy during the screening and checking process so you won’t have to open your bag ever to give a routine check.
“This could have a great impact in protecting the public from dangerous objects,” said Yingying (Jennifer) Chen, study co-author and a professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering in Rutgers University. She further added that there’s a growing need for that now.
How Does It Work?
The system will benefit from the ability of WiFi signals to penetrate into everything. WiFi, or wireless, signals in most public places can penetrate bags and bounce off certain materials and objects specifically metals to get their dimensions
WiFi can also be used to estimate the volume of liquids such as water, acid, alcohol and other chemicals for explosives, according to the researchers.
This low-cost object detection system requires a WiFi device with two to three antennas and can be integrated into existing WiFi networks. The system analyzes the shapes and size when wireless signals penetrate and bounce off different objects.
Is It Successful?
The study has successfully experimented for an astounding 99% accurate detection of dangerous objects. However, with liquids, the results came out at 95%. Even with wrapped objects, the result only dropped to 90%.
“In large public areas, it’s hard to set up expensive screening infrastructure like what’s in airports,” Chen said. “Manpower is always needed to check bags and we wanted to develop a complementary method to try to reduce manpower.”