Origin Wireless can detect small movements with Wi-Fi

Greg S

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Having Wi-Fi in your home is now a standard amenity rather than a revolutionary new technology. Origin Wireless is aiming to change what your wireless router may be capable of. Utilizing existing 802.11 standards, the company is able to detect minuscule movements within rooms with enough accuracy to determine if someone is breathing.

An obvious implementation of this sort of technology is for home security and emergency alert systems. Being able to detect any irregular movements could signal a homeowner to contact law enforcement or have somebody investigate what caused an alert without having a camera vulnerable to being hacked. Detecting falls or lack of movement from humans could also help save lives without the need of a lanyard or other gadget to be worn all the time.

Origin Wireless claims that it takes only one minute to determine the respiration rates of everyone inside of a room. Their smart radio can be placed outside of the room where monitoring is taking place, so range should not be a large issue. The key aspect to the technology is that a mesh Wi-Fi network is required. A single router is not enough to accurately measure and process the signals needed for location tracking and biometric monitoring.

In a typical networking setup, latency and bouncing of signals is generally bad. Slower connections and lower signal strength are undesirable for regular use. However, Origin Wireless exploits the properties of electromagnetic propagation delay to reverse the path each signal has taken. Given enough data points and after some complex algorithms are run, rooms can be mapped quite effectively.

Even though GPS are quickly becoming more accurate outdoors, indoor location tracking is still somewhat of a challenge. Adding precise indoor locations to emergency phone calls could be greatly beneficial. It is possible for existing mesh networking systems to receive a firmware update that could implement all of the new features Origin Wireless has created.

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