By Debbie Gregory.
It’s easy to understand why CENTCOM or other government military and security agencies would want a technology that could not only photograph people through walls, but also do so in 3D.
It’s called Wi-Fi holography technology, and while it may take a number of years and millions of dollars to develop into a practical technology, it could prove to be invaluable in hostage situations, covert military operations, police stakeouts, etc. It also has humanitarian possibilities, such as helping rescue workers detect people in rubble left by an earthquake.
The theory is that if Wi-Fi can pass through walls, which we know it does, the same property would allow the taking of holograms, or 3D photographs, of objects inside a room from outside it.
“It can basically scan a room with someone’s Wi-Fi transmission,” Philipp Holl, a 23-year-old undergraduate physics student at the Technical University of Munich. He initially built the device as part of his bachelor thesis, with the help of his academic supervisor, Friedemann Reinhard.
The technology uses two antennas: one fixed in place and another that moves. The fixed antenna records a Wi-Fi field’s background, or reference, for the spot it’s placed in. The other antenna is moved by hand to record the same Wi-Fi field from many different points.
The signals from both antennas are simultaneously fed into a computer, and software builds many 2D images as one antenna is waved around and then stacks them together in a 3D hologram.
Although the technology is only in its prototype stage and has limited resolution, Holl is excited about its promise.
Holl said that he hasn’t yet “had any contact with someone from the U.S. Central Command.”