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WiFi Through-Wall Detection

Shortlisted for NI Engineering Impact Awards

Professor Karl Woodbridge’s groundbreaking WiFi Through-Wall Detection technology is a finalist in the NI Engineering Impact Awards* due to take place on 3rd November 2014. These awards organised by industry leader National Instruments celebrate and honour engineers and scientists who, using graphical system design, are addressing some of the most challenging engineering problems and improving the world around us. 

Professor Woodbridge and his team including Dr Kevin Chetty and Dr Bo Tan are one of two finalists in the ‘Advanced Research’ category. The UCL team have proved  the concept that local WiFi signals can be used to monitor moving objects and bodies that are otherwise visually obscured. Although fundamentally similar to traditional radar systems, their novel approach is entirely passive—utilizing the wireless signals that already swamp our urban airways. This technology has a wide range of applications from healthcare monitoring, security and emergency disaster relief, finding earthquake survivors in fallen buildings. The team produced a patented passive radar system using multiple NI Universal Software Radio Peripherals (USRPs) and LabVIEW to fuel their cutting-edge research. The USRPs, which can operate over wide frequency bands, acquire radio frequency (RF) signals on several channels. They used LabVIEW to design and iterate the advanced signal processing used to detect minute Doppler shifts in the acquired wireless signals to sense movement. For a case study about the technology and further information about the other finalists, see: For more information about collaboration and innovation at UCL, you may like to read the case study brochure.