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Wireless Networks

How to Use Wifi to See Through Walls

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How to Use Wifi to See Through Walls

Researchers at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab present a non-networking use for wifi-- as a means to see through walls, essentially making an X-ray vision of sorts.

Dubbed RF-Capture, the technology uses variations in wifi signals to recognise human silhouettes from behind walls. To do so it first transmits wifi signals before analysing reflections in the signals to piece together a human form. In other words, it is a little bit like a radar. It requires no wearable sensors and transmission power is "10000 times lower" than standard mobile phone signals.

The researchers say the technology (or rather, the algorithm behind it) is accurate enough to know who the person behind a wall is, determine how he or she is moving and even trace a person's handwriting in air, all by piecing together a silhouette from the reflected wifi signals.

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Linux Light Bulbs for LED-Based Communications

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Linux Light Bulbs for LED-Based Communications

Disney Research presents a means for enable gadgets to communicate with each other inside smart indoor environments-- the Linux Light Bulb, an LED flashing out data using visible light.

The technology, dubbed Visible Light Communication (VLC) is not actually new. What the Disney researchers add is an IP stack and other networking protocols inside a Linux-based VLC system-on-a-chip (SoC) one can integrate into existing LED lamps.

Such a means of communications bypasses other wireless channels used in the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), such as ZigBee, wifi or Bluetooth, and can be supported by any device able to switch an LED on and off.

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Samsung Proposes "Space Internet"

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Samsung Proposes

Samsung proposes a means to provide the world with an additional zetabyte of data transfer capacity every month-- a "Space Internet" system consisting of 4600 tiny Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites.

In a paper titled "Mobile Internet from the Heavens," Samsung R&D president Farooq Khan forecasts global demand for mobile demand will reach 1 zettabyte per month by 2028, and as such companies need to gear up now if they want to provide the bandwidth required.

Enter the Space Internet. The system consists of a network of so-called micro satellites (weighting less than 500kg) at 1500-2000km altitude. Such satellites cost relatively less to manufacture and deploy, and can essentially blanket the world with faster mobile internet (providing 200GB/month for 5 billion users worldwide) following the widespread adoption of 5G technology.

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NASA's Low-Power Wifi "Reflector"

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NASA's Low-Power Wifi

Researchers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) design a wifi chip to bring great power savings to connected mobile devices through the use of reflections instead of the regular transmitter/receiver component.

"The idea is if the wearable device only needs to reflect the wifi signal from a router or cell tower, instead of generate it, the power consumption can go way down (and the battery life can go way up)," researcher Adrian Tang says.

In a few words, the concept uses a simple switch mechanism where incoming energy absorbed the circuit is "0" and reflected energy is "1." Such a system uses very little power and allows for fast data transfer between a wearable device and any other device capable of receiving data.

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Wifi Alliance Launches Wifi Aware

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Wifi Alliance Launches Wifi Aware

The Wifi Alliance presents a new certification program-- Wifi Aware, a means to validate the capability for energy-efficient, proxy-based service discovery among wifi-enabled devices.

In other words, it allows devices to discover other devices, applications and information nearby before making a wifi connection. The system continuously scans surroundings, anticipates actions and notifies users of available services and selected preferences.

The alliance adds the Wifi Aware operates indoors and in dense environments, and does not require cellular, wifi or GPS connectivity. Instead it makes use of small, power-efficient messages to create a common "heartbeat" between devices before an app initiates wifi connection to follow-up on activities such as photo sharing or multiplayer games.

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