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Development of novel hand-held devices based on Zigbee or WiFi signals to see through walls


In this project, we aim to develop a low cost X-ray vision wireless hand-held device. The developed hand-held device can be used to see through walls to track moving human bodies. The technique would be based on a concept similar to radar and sonar imaging, instead of using high power signal, this one would use low power Wi-Fi or ZigBee signals to track the movement of people behind walls and closed doors. When a Wi-Fi or ZigBee signal is transmitted towards a wall, due to the absorbing property of the walls, only a small part of the signal can be penetrated through the wall and can be reflected back when the signal reaches any objects that happen to be moving around in the other room. Based on the reflected signal, we can detect the moving objects.


Dr Zihuai Lin.

Research location

Electrical and Information Engineering

Program type



When a Wi-Fi or ZigBee signal is transmitted at a wall, a portion of that signal penetrates through and reflects off any humans that happen to be moving around in the other room. Since only a tiny fraction of the signal passes through the wall, with the rest being reflected, the researchers had to devise a technology that could cancel out the arbitrary reflections, and keep only those reflecting from moving human bodies.Relying on low-cost Wi-Fi or ZigBee technology, the developed system could be utilized in everything from disaster recovery to gaming. Because the device can detect action behind a wall, the system could be used as a gesture-based interface for controlling appliances or lighting.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 1839

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