Sometimes science fact is stranger than fiction. Who knew Wi-Fi could be used to generate holographic images. But scientists at the Technical University of Munich have come up with a way to use Wi-Fi to generate 3D images without lasers and using microwave radiation from a Wi-Fi transmitter.
The process requires a single fixed antenna and one moving antenna. It captures uWave radiation from the Wi-Fi transmitter and generates a 3D image of the surrounding environment. This is a virgin territory because previous methods of generating images from microwave radiation required special-purpose transmitters with large bandwidths. This is Wi-Fi!!
Using latest generation holographic data processing, researchers could image, down to centimeter precision, with bandwidths of 2.4 GHz to 5 GHz – typical Wi-Fi frequencies. And, theoretically, it can be done with Bluetooth and cellphone signals. If this turns out to scale, going up in frequency, say 60 GHz, would allow for millimeter-scale precision.
The process basically, involves treating uWave holograms as optical images. This enable the extraction of information to be embedded in a smartphone camera. One great application is to be able to track radio tags and image the location.
But there is the issue of privacy. Right now, there isn’t any. But research advances in materials transparency will lead to the development of things like wallpapers or paint, which is translucent to uWaves. That puts a curtain around the image. Dark-field microscopy methodologies also offer the capabilities to improve recognition of structures with weak diffraction. As well, white-light holography can be employed to remove noise from the images.
The possibilities are staggering. For example, the technology could provide a spatial representation of structures that have been destroyed by an earthquake. This would allow first responders to navigate cavities and look for victims in the rubble.