WiFi Can Read Through Walls

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Researchers in UC Santa Barbara professor Yasamin Mostofi’s lab have proposed a new foundation that can enable high-quality imaging of still objects using only WiFi signals. Their method employs the Geometrical Theory of Diffraction and the corresponding Keller cones to trace edges of the objects. The technique has also the first use of WiFi to image — i.e.. read — the English alphabet through walls, a task previously deemed too difficult for WiFi owing to the complex details of the letters. 

“Imaging still scenery with WiFi is considerably challenging due to the lack of motion,” said Mostofi, a professor of in the UCSB Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. “We have taken a completely different approach to tackling this challenging problem by instead focusing on tracing the edges of the objects.”  The proposed methodology and experimental results appeared in the Proceedings of the 2023 IEEE National Conference on Radar (RadarConf) on June 21, 2023.

This innovation builds on previous work in the Mostofi Lab, which, since 2009 has pioneered sensing with everyday radio frequency signals such as WiFi for several different applications, including crowd analytics, person identification, smart health, and smart spaces.

Read the complete article.
Watch a YouTube video about the technology


Image of a test setup to illustrate wifi reading through walls

The setup in Mostofi lab used to demonstrate how wifi can be used to image still objects through a wall.