Eran Yakar

Wi-Fi Sensing is a Thing

It is now taken for granted that a smart home device turns on an air conditioner and lights when it senses that someone comes home. Sensing will soon be deeply embedded into our daily lives. Already numerous Wi-Fi sensing based devices are available in the market. Now the technology for sensing is about to get a lot more sophisticated and widespread. Recently Wi-Fi technology took the next step in making the advanced sensing a ubiquitous reality when the IEEE announced the formation of a new standards group. This will enable additional sensing capabilities in the Wi-Fi devices people are already familiar with. 

One of the key advantages of Wi-Fi sensing is that it is a non-intrusive technology. Unlike cameras, microphones, and security sensors, this technology does not require any installation. It is simply a part of the devices that people already use. 

Radar over Wi-Fi

Radars have been around for a long time and we usually associate them with aerospace, weather, or traffic applications. But the underlying building blocks of the technology for radar are already part of Wi-Fi. The basic principle is to periodically send a radio signal and listen for its reflections. The timing of the reflected signals, relative to the original signal, is used to estimate distances to the people and objects in a room. Furthermore, the received radio signals experience frequency shifts when they are reflected from moving objects. This frequency shift in proportion to the velocity of an object is the well-known Doppler shift. 

The movement of complex bodies, such as a human body, have multiple moving parts with different trajectories and velocities. Celeno has created Wi-Fi Doppler Imaging using sophisticated algorithms to extract a Doppler signature from the multiple Doppler shifts from reflected signals from a complex body. The Doppler signature has fine resolution to enable detection of breathing (or its absence) which involves very little body movement. The next processing stage uses machine learning algorithms to identify and classify objects and activities. For example, it is able to distinguish between a pet and a human  and to identify motions.

What Can Be Sensed with Radar over Wi-Fi

A variety of metrics can be sensed using the fine resolution Doppler signature obtained from Wi-Fi Doppler Imaging. Beyond the common sensing requirements for location of objects and humans, the movement of objects and human activity can be reliably sensed including whether someone is sleeping, sitting, standing, walking, exercising, or falling. The number of people present in a room or in the whole house can also be determined. With the sufficiently high accuracy of Doppler signature, different human gestures can be recognized and classified. The fine grain Doppler signature also enables the measurement of respiration rate, and other vitals signs. 

Applications that will use Wi-Fi Sensing

Wi-Fi sensing can empower elderly people to live independently in their homes. Wi-Fi Doppler Imaging can determine any unusual activity and report to the family members. Monitoring sleep and other vitals enables detection of health deterioration in a timely manner. 

Security in homes, businesses, and factories is another use case that can be readily enabled. Wi-Fi sensing can do motion detection without installing any custom motion detectors. Wi-Fi Doppler Imaging has the intelligence of distinguishing pets from humans and ruling out extraneous activities through geofencing. 

Wi-Fi based imaging technology can help optimize lighting and HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems operation for better energy conservation. On a factory floor it can help track the location of workers and equipment to help maintain safety and productivity.

Personalized ads in online marketing has had a big advantage over traditional TV advertising because it is not known whether who, if anyone, is actually present in front of the TV. Wi-Fi Doppler Imaging can provide this information in real time to enable personalized ads for traditional TV. A set-top-box or a streaming device with Wi-Fi Doppler Imaging could make TV advertising much more competitive.

Almost any connected smart device such as the thermostats, light bulbs and switches, coffee makers, ovens, washers, dryers, smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, etc. in a home can benefit from the Wi-Fi Doppler Imaging technology and can enhance the system performance. 

Application developers can leverage the Wi-Fi Doppler Imaging in innumerable ways. Like with any new technology, the use cases and applications of Wi-Fi sensing will far outnumber the initial motivations for the underlying technology. 

Celeno Pioneering the Field

Celeno has pioneered the Wi-Fi sensing technology and has matured it for its widespread adoption across many different use cases. Celeno is also working with leading application developers to leverage the capabilities of its technology to provide fully functioning solutions. Celeno has partnered with several technology companies to enable the integration of AI technology, Wi-Fi Doppler Imaging, and IoT to care for and empower the large and growing population of elderly citizens. 

Learn more about Celeno’s Wi-Fi Doppler Imaging technology here

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