X-ray vision is no longer just a superpower

Credit: MIT

The world of superheroes is quickly turning into the world of normal humans with fancy technology. For example, Tony Stark may have thought up the Iron Man suit, but we’ve created a pretty nice replica. And now, thanks to MIT, we have the power to see through walls.

All it took was three antennas, a wall, and a fidgety dude to make comic book into reality. Researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Laboratory took three radio antennas, spread apart by a meter, and aimed them at said wall. Two of the antennas transmit radio waves, while one receives them. The waves reflect off a human body in the other room, and the receiving antenna grabs those reflections and feeds the data into the computer, which uses it to find the person in question.

The pacing man was picked up by the antennae and represented as a red dot on a computer screen. His moments were tracked accurately with an error of just 10 centimeters, a method that's more accurate than determining someone’s position wirelessly using a smartphone that’s in his hand. That’s fairly amazing, since what’s revolutionary about this device is the tracked person doesn’t need to carry a transmitter, or even know you're spying on them.

MIT Ph.D candidate Fadel Adlib explains, "what we're doing here is localization through a wall without requiring you to hold any transmitter or receiver [and] simply by using reflections off a human body. What is impressive is that our accuracy is higher than even state of the art Wi-Fi localization."

The system, called “Kinect of the future” after Xbox 360’s motion sensing camera, has a few drawbacks at the moment, mainly that it can only follow on person at a time and can be thrown off is someone else moves around in the same room. It also represents people at dots, though its creators hope to soon represent them as silhouettes. Augmented reality gaming could certainly benefit from such a device, but more realistically, it has pretty obvious usages in security (so long as they fix the whole only-tracks-one-person aspect).

Tech like this is cool and terrifying in equal measures, but one thing’s certain: superheroes are losing their edge to reality.

Via Gizmodo

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