VIDEO: Turning WiFI into "X-ray vision" (CBS News)

By seeing silhouettes through a wall, the CSAIL device could help with motion capture, fall prevention and even your heating bill.
By seeing silhouettes through a wall, the CSAIL device could help with motion capture, fall prevention and even your heating bill.

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CBS News' "This Morning with Charlie Rose" just profiled CSAIL research that turns wireless signals into "x-ray vision" that can detect people through walls.

From the story:

"No cell phone, no pendant, no sensor. It's purely based on wireless signals that reflect off our bodies and come back to the device," Katabi said.

The researchers came up with this groundbreaking idea based on their work with wireless networks.

"The question was, can you use wireless networks or Wi-Fi for purposes other than communications. Can you sense the environment with it?" said Fadel Adib, a student researcher at MIT. "As the research evolved, we realized we could sense a person on the other side of the wall."

The low-frequency wireless signals not only detect people's position in the room, but also their elevation from the floor. Researchers hope this can better protect seniors at risk of falling -- a problem that sends an estimated 2.5 million elderly Americans to hospitals each year at a cost of $34 billion, according to the CDC.

Check out the full story on the CBS website.