New parents will soon have a way to monitor their infant’s breathing and heart rate from another room—and perhaps, finally, steal some worry-free sleep—thanks to technology developed at MIT. The Wireless Center at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has figured out how to track minute movements through a wall by analyzing the reflection of low-power wireless signals. The latest version of the system, which was first announced last year, is 99 percent accurate.
The technology can also track the movements of multiple people, according to a new paper from the research team, comprised of Dina Katabi SM ’99, PhD ’03, recently named the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and CSAIL faculty Robert Miller ’95, MNG ’95, along with graduate students Fadel Adib SM ’13 and Zachary Kabelac ’12, MNG ’14. This has obvious potential for the military, law enforcement, and emergency responders, along with a host of other applications.
But for exhausted moms and dads—who generally rely on fuzzy sound and/or grainy video to check whether their little one is sleeping peacefully—the tracking of vital signs is the most reassuring new use of WiFi since video chats with grandma.