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New System Allows for High-Accuracy, Through-Wall, 3D Motion Tracking

By MIT News

December 16, 2013

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Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Wireless Networks and Mobile Computing have developed WiTrack, a three-dimensional (3D) motion-tracking technology. Using radio signals to track a person through walls and other obstacles, WiTrack can determine 3D location with an accuracy of within 10 to 20 centimeters.

WiTrack builds on the WiVi system that MIT professor and 2013 ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award recipient Dina Katabi and a graduate student unveiled earlier in the year, offering improved accuracy and the ability to track two-dimensional and 3D movement using specialized radio waves instead of Wi-Fi signals. WiTrack detects location and movement using specialized radio signals that reflect off a person's body, and has one antenna for transmitting signals and three for receiving. By sending signals between the antennas and using the reflections off a person's body to gauge the distance between the antennas and the user, WiTrack creates a geometric model of the user's location.

The system does not require users to carry wireless devices or stand directly in front of a sensing device, and does not use significant computing power. Katabi says the technology could transform gaming, and she notes it also could prove useful in fall detection for elderly people.

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