Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have emerged from their smoke filled labs with a Kinect type of device which can see through walls and pinpoint a person with incredible accuracy.
According to IT World, the gizmo uses three radio antennae spaced about a metre apart and pointed at a wall. The system tracked the movements with an accuracy of plus or minus 10 centimetres, which is about the width of an adult hand.
One of the designers, Fadel Adib, said that gaming is an obvious use for the technology, but that Wi-Fi localisation was another important thing to come out of the research.
At the moment, working out someone's position based on Wi-Fi, requires a person to hold a transmitter.
The machine can identify a person through a wall without requiring them to hold any transmitter or receiver by using reflections off a human body, he said.
The next stage is to offer a real-time silhouette of a person, which will enable full Kinect interpretation. It also needs to be able to track more than one moving person at a time.
Unlike previous versions of the project that used Wi-Fi, the new system allows for 3D tracking and could tell if a person has fallen or injured themselves.
It also needs to be miniaturised before it will be any real use.
It might take a while to do all these things and get a product into the market. The researchers filed a patent last week and there are no immediate plans for commercialisation.