Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

MIT Researchers Can Take Your Pulse, Right Through the Walls

timothy posted about a month and a half ago | from the proof-of-life dept.

Technology 125

An anonymous reader writes MIT researchers develop technology that can monitor people's breathing and heart rate through walls. 'Their latest report demonstrates that they can now detect gestures as subtle as the rise and fall of a person's chest. From that, they can determine a person's heart rate with 99 percent accuracy. The research could be used for health-tracking apps, baby monitors, and for the military and law enforcement.' The report describes how they extended their through-wall technology to up to five users and how they track vital signs.

cancel ×

125 comments

Windows (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239243)

I'm pretty sure a baby can be monitored through a wall by using a window, but does it run on Linux?

Re:Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239381)

It hurts me that you use the sophistication of your human brain to spew forth such idiotic dribble.

Re:Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239395)

Have you counted human brains recently? At over 7 billion total, one human brain is not even remotely valuable.

Re: Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239663)

I'm not sure everyone of the 7 billion inmates of this madhouse has one. Not in a functional state.

Re:Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239665)

You need to read up on the tragedy of the commons.

Re:Windows (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47240607)

You need to read up how successful communism in north corea is. They are respected by the whole world. Their atomary program is sophisticated. The USA didn't succeed to infect their computers with a virus as they don't have the need for computers as we have. In north corea, email isn't even for old people. They also manage to keep the dictature in their neighbour county, china, alive. If north corea wasn't there with its atomary weapons, china would be consumed by its neighbour countries russia, taiwan and India in a matter of days. Its a well known fact the obama administration asserts north corea less importance than it actually has.

Re:Windows (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239437)

Everybody knows you can't trust Microsoft operating systems for vital medical systems...

Re:Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239499)

How vital we talking? Is Microsoft good enough for dental records?

Re:Windows (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239517)

No. You shouldn't even use it to keep notes about your thoughts for your psychiatrist.

Re:Windows (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239717)

No, Microsoft is a joke that got a bit too long in the tooth.

Re:Windows (1)

Jack Griffin (3459907) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239745)

I'll tell you a joke.. Linux on the desktop... Muahahaha....

Re: Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47240955)

Still waiting for the punchline.

Re:Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47240525)

I'm pretty sure a baby can be monitored through a wall by using a window, but does it run on Linux?

No, but it helps the baby to remember to breathe!

Dammit, radar is the new video. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239245)

Radar porn is inevitable.

Time saver (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239247)

Good, the doctors can take my vitals while waiting in the waiting-room to cut time.

Re:Time saver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239895)

Why are the doctors waiting in the waiting-room? Where are you?

Re:Time saver (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about a month and a half ago | (#47240843)

Soviet Russia. Where the Doctors wait on you!

Tinfoil Hat Time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239251)

... More like tinfoil skinsuit.

Re:Tinfoil Hat Time? (1)

fygment (444210) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239991)

Tinfoil with radar? You'll light up like a firework on every radar screen within miles ... including the airport.

Coming soon to a TV near you (3, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239261)

This will probably be a feature in new TV sets. Of course, all this data will be transmitted to advertisers.

(On the other hand, it would be great for gyms and for workout programs.)

Re:Coming soon to a TV near you (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about a month and a half ago | (#47240533)

Simple solution to that little problem, my friend: don't buy a so-called 'smart' TV.

Re:Coming soon to a TV near you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47240789)

> This will probably be a feature in new TV sets. Of course, all this data will be transmitted to advertisers.

This should cause people with Xbone Kinects which are 'always on' to be distrustful. Sure they say they are only listening for xbox commands, but if they periodically turned on the room scanning part who would even know?

More Uses for Aluminium foil (3, Informative)

mbone (558574) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239267)

Aluminum foil will nicely block the 5.46-7.25 GHz (4-5 cm) radio waves used for this radar (as would a typical screen door). I wonder who will be the first to market RF-opaque sheet-rock, which would technically easy to make.

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (1)

CaptQuark (2706165) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239291)

The Simpsons did it.

Actually, many companies have RF blocking screens, wallboards, etc. but the price has been high. However, here is a link to a French company that offered RF blocking wallpaper two years ago. http://www.linformaticien.com/... [linformaticien.com] (use Google translate if needed)

~~

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a month and a half ago | (#47240163)

However, here is a link to a French company that offered RF blocking wallpaper two years ago

LOL ... so, it's tin-foil hats, but in patterns?

Why does this whole thing remind me of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six ... where if you had two antennas you could triangulate people and use it for military purposes?

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (1)

riker1384 (735780) | about a month and a half ago | (#47240481)

The heartbeat sensor thing in Rainbow Six was based on a real product Clancy had seen, that turned out to be a fraud.

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (5, Interesting)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239349)

It's a losing battle, unfortunately. We can't remember one simple 2048-bit private key, we emit all varieties of radiation, we leave a literal trail of identifiable chemical signatures, we're susceptible to an enormous variety of attacks, have only a vague notion of what's going on around us (or, for that matter, inside us), have predictable needs and habits, share important details of our lives with others, and last but not least, are frequently willing to trade our privacy for a little convenience or money.

In short: we're loud and messy, and trying to make a human invisible to the technology of today and tomorrow is ultimately futile. It's like DRM; the most you can do is make it slightly harder and impose laws declaring the water should stay in the sieve.

Hopefully we'll wise up someday and stop caring about the pointless minutiae of each others' lives, and decide that as long as technological advance means we're heading for a panopticon anyway, it needs to be owned by all the people.

Not holding my breath, though.

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239859)

as long as technological advance means we're heading for a panopticon anyway, it needs to be owned by all the people.

Not holding my breath, though.

It would be much better if technology that allowed 'panopticons' was outlawed for the greater good, but I won't be holding my breath.

Re: Not holding my breath, though. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47240249)

You realize there was no need to tell me that, don't you? I can tell you're breathing from way over here.

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47240345)

Thank you; I learned a new word today, "Panopticon".

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47240871)

> It's like DRM; the most you can do is make it slightly harder and impose laws declaring the water should stay in the sieve.

No, it is not like DRM because DRM is about restricting people not j-random corps and the government. Both of which would not exist without laws to define them and thus can be required to conform to new laws as the necessity arises.

> Hopefully we'll wise up someday and stop caring about the pointless minutiae of each others' lives,

That will NEVER happen, it is a stupid meme built on the fantasy of a high-school geek who hasn't yet grasped any of the layers of social complexity that are fundamental to being human. We are not black-and-white, true-and-false creatures. We are different people to different people - a father is a different person to his children than he is to his wife or to the people he works with. The idea that we can "flatten" our social interactions into one fully inclusive identity is pure fantasy, completely in contradiction with what it means to be human. It will never happen because it can't happen.

Stop focusing on the impossible and start focusing on what we need to be human.

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (2)

Blue Stone (582566) | about a month and a half ago | (#47241297)

>Hopefully we'll wise up someday and stop caring about the pointless minutiae of each others' lives

We've been scrutinising the minutiae of others lives for millennia; ever since we evolved into social grouping, with all its hierarchical dynamics. It's not going to stop any time soon.

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239443)

Veterans of Slashdot will know that the tin foil was never a joke, but we still aren't talking about foil.

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239445)

I wonder who will be the first to market RF-opaque sheet-rock, which would technically easy to make.

It has existed [usg.com] for some time. [nationalgypsum.com] Very popular with new banks and HQ buildings over the last decade. You need to install a repeater to get phone coverage inside or execs never approve it.

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239487)

Aluminum foil will nicely block the 5.46-7.25 GHz (4-5 cm) radio waves used for this radar (as would a typical screen door). I wonder who will be the first to market RF-opaque sheet-rock, which would technically easy to make.

As it would block a great many other things.

Here's a hint, folks: metal-backed insulation has been pretty standard for many years. As long as you make sure it's all in contact, also using metal (or metal-clad) doors and metal-screened windows will also give you an effective Faraday cage.

But given that in the US, even use of commonly-available infrared-scanning equipment by law enforcement requires a warrant, I doubt very much that even more intrusive scanning would be ruled legal for LEO without a warrant.

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239527)

But given that in the US, even use of commonly-available infrared-scanning equipment by law enforcement requires a warrant, I doubt very much that even more intrusive scanning would be ruled legal for LEO without a warrant.

So they'll use it anyway and then use 'parallel construction' to convict you.

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (4, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239609)

So they'll use it anyway and then use 'parallel construction' to convict you.

Nah. Been tried.

Multiple cases, in California, New York, and other jurisdictions have all found the same way: it's illegal. The police can fuck off.

A few years ago, ex-Texas-Ranger Barry Cooper and his fellow Kop Busters heard that IR scanning was happening in NYC, despite it having been ruled illegal without a warrant. They rented an apartment, bugged and alarmed it, rigged it up with an artificial Christmas tree and some grow lights (curtains all closed), and walked away. (But not far... they stayed out of the way in a nearby building.)

When the cops busted in, they were greeted with automatic video cameras and a big sign that said, "You guys are BUSTED!"

The video was even posted on the Internet. The PD got in trouble with the State.

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (1)

sjames (1099) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239701)

They have gotten a lot sneakier now. That's how the DEA acts on NSA tips that come from illegal surveillance.

They take the info and then set a trap where they have the 'astounding luck' to stumble upon the evidence.

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239723)

They have gotten a lot sneakier now. That's how the DEA acts on NSA tips that come from illegal surveillance.

They take the info and then set a trap where they have the 'astounding luck' to stumble upon the evidence.

You don't get it, do you?

You are talking about faking of probable cause. In an honest court, and if you have a non-corrupt defender, they have to SHOW probable cause in court. It isn't legal to just say that probable cause may have existed! The have to GET A WARRANT based on PROBABLE CAUSE, BEFORE they can scan. If they pretend they got the evidence some other way, they have to prove it, and show a logical chain of events.

In any kind of honest court system, anything else would catch them up before their 4th try, and hang them high.

I'm not saying that every court in the US is honest 100% of the time, but shit is shit, and it will out.

Like Lois Lerner, for example. Friday, IRS tried to claim that they lost her emails, but JUST during the period when the IRS was accused of discriminating against non-LEFT non-profits.

Yeah, right. Nixon lied better about Watergate, and he was a shitty liar.

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239909)

You are talking about faking of probable cause. In an honest court, and if you have a non-corrupt defender,

So we're fucked, then.

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (1)

russotto (537200) | about a month and a half ago | (#47240407)

You don't get it, do you?

It's you who don't get it.

You are talking about faking of probable cause. In an honest court, and if you have a non-corrupt defender, they have to SHOW probable cause in court. It isn't legal to just say that probable cause may have existed! The have to GET A WARRANT based on PROBABLE CAUSE, BEFORE they can scan. If they pretend they got the evidence some other way, they have to prove it, and show a logical chain of events.

Parallel construction involves obtaining the evidence by any means (illegally), then using that knowledge to manufacture a plausible probable cause, which can then be used to get the evidence (that the cops know is there through their illegal means) legally. Neither the court nor the defendant's attorney is ever informed of the original illegal surveillance, so the honesty of the court and corruptness of the defender aren't relevant.

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47240487)

Parallel construction involves obtaining the evidence by any means (illegally), then using that knowledge to manufacture a plausible probable cause, which can then be used to get the evidence (that the cops know is there through their illegal means) legally. Neither the court nor the defendant's attorney is ever informed of the original illegal surveillance, so the honesty of the court and corruptness of the defender aren't relevant.

For that matter, the prosecutors and, with some simple precautions, even the law enforcement officers who take the stand don't have to know. They'll certainly suspect (wow, it's amazing how often these coincidences occur!), but they won't know anything. It'll be locked up in the minds of a few law enforcement officers who honestly believe they're not doing anything wrong, or that they're serving the greater good.

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (1)

sjames (1099) | about a month and a half ago | (#47240733)

Police drone scans every home in the neighborhood. Oh, look! This one looks interesting. Send a patyrol car to snoop around. Perhaps he can hear some screaming and do a welfare check.

Now, prove they DIDN'T just happen to be patrolling there and think they heard screaming.

Note trhat the DEA has been doing this with NSA tips for a while now. The cat is out of the bag now, and the courts have done absolutely NOTHING about it. They haven't even given DEA and NSA an order to tell them which trials involved 'parallel construction'.

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47240937)

A few years ago, ex-Texas-Ranger Barry Cooper and his fellow Kop Busters heard that IR scanning was happening in NYC, despite it having been ruled illegal without a warrant. They rented an apartment, bugged and alarmed it, rigged it up with an artificial Christmas tree and some grow lights (curtains all closed), and walked away.

Sort of true. [rawstory.com] It was Odessa, Texas. And they tricked a local priest into 'forwarding' an anonymous tip about the place so he couldn't prove that they use the IR. But anonymous tips alone aren't sufficient to get a warrant, so one way or another, the cops did break the law.

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239531)

I should add that if you do it properly, building such a cage will render you immune to cell-phone or radio reception inside your house. But you can use commonly and cheaply available repeaters to fix that.

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47241011)

Have landlines been completely eradicated from this country?

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239845)

There are ways to embed higher frequency signals in a signal that is impedance matched for the target, allowing the non-impedance matched signals to pass at near full strength.

Shielding is useless against an adaptable radio source (i.e AI driven).

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (1)

AndyKron (937105) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239941)

This isn't going to screw up the FPV camera on my spy drone, is it?

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239943)

I tried wrapping myself in tinfoil but it's too hot and noisy and you can still see me breathing! Maybe I should sleep in an oil drum?

paint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47240097)

Aluminum foil will nicely block the 5.46-7.25 GHz (4-5 cm) radio waves used for this radar (as would a typical screen door). I wonder who will be the first to market RF-opaque sheet-rock, which would technically easy to make.

Just use lead paint. :)

Re:More Uses for Aluminium foil (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | about a month and a half ago | (#47240471)

Batman has been way ahead of you guys for years. The Batcave is lined with lead just for this kind of thing!

with "lay-zers" (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239281)

those pesky photons are at it again

Horseshit (5, Insightful)

dcollins (135727) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239299)

"The research could be used for health-tracking apps, baby monitors, and for the military and law enforcement."

Yeah, lead with the health-tracking and baby monitors, which actually benefits the subject, such that the subject would happily allow a monitor right next to them, and thus "through the walls" monitoring will never, ever get used.

Bury the bit about using it shoot people who break a drug law, or a resister of some foreign tyranny, in a way that they never have a chance to see it coming, which is how this will actually get used.

Ugh.

Re:Horseshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239329)

RoboCop shot people through walls, and audiences cheered him on. The people love their corporate overlords. The people are the problem.

Re:Horseshit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239341)

They already make tech that can see a persons thermal signature thru walls.. This recent tech is probably from those devices. I don't have a citation for the thermal device but if you look around the internet is should be pretty easy to find several articles/stories on it. If they were using this type of tech to kill someone they would already be doing it, or have been doing it, only no one has said anything about it.

If they were, I am sure there is some contract with the maker stipulating that only certain members of law enforcement can use the device, I would guess SWAT, and they cannot talk about the device to anyone outside the group of officers that are allowed to access or use the device, including anyone within their department, family, friends, and the press.

On top of that unless the walls are standard plywood/insulation/plaster you need special bullets (which are available) to 'melt' walls (concrete) and hit the target. Of course there is the old way, wait till they are near a window and then shoot'em.

Re:Horseshit (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239705)

What benefit is there to shooting people based on their heat signatures? You have the distinct problem of not getting confirmation of your target before taking the shot.

A lot of people imagine all sorts of bad things that can happen with technologies like this. Most of it's nonsense because it doesn't actually make things easier. If someone wants to shoot you, they can just break down your door and do it, use a predator drone, or snipe through a window using traditional SWAT tactics.

Re:Horseshit (1)

TheLink (130905) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239411)

The foreign countries might already have similar tech, maybe even years ago:
http://www.rslab.ru/downloads/... [rslab.ru]
http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl... [ieee.org]
http://repository.tudelft.nl/a... [tudelft.nl]
https://encrypted.google.com/b... [google.com]

Re:Horseshit (1)

Nutria (679911) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239477)

The TU Delft paper explicitly states Detection of respiratory movement of a person in laboratory conditions has been demonstrated.

Re:Horseshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239543)

That paper was 8 years ago.

I don't see heart/cardio/pulse being mentioned in the MIT paper either: http://18.7.29.232/bitstream/h... [18.7.29.232]

The MIT experiment uses frequencies from 5.4 to 7.25GHz which don't seem that far off from the Delft version.

So I find it hard to see anything novel in this. Maybe it's cheaper?

Re:Horseshit (2)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239425)

Can you imagine if they actually did make it available for through-wall baby monitors? How long until parents accidentally swing the camera a bit wide and realize they can see inside their neighbor's home? How many will buy it just for that use? "Baby Monitors Used by Voyeurs" is nearly as bad a headline as what we saw with that Harry Potter vibrating broom toy that was allegedly popular with mothers a few years back.

Re:Horseshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47240351)

Figure out which women in my apartment building have multiple orgasms?

Re:Horseshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239471)

All what I see is that now agencies have way to have a simple lie detector outside of the interrogation room without subject even knowing it at all that his body is being metered.

I am terrible liar, but I am even worse telling the truth. In the sense how I react. People don't trust me when I tell them the truth but more likely they would trust me if I tell them a lie.

Re:Horseshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47240227)

I don't believe you.

Re:Horseshit (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239699)

The problem is for every bad aspect of technologies like these, there are many good aspects. A technology like this could have huge benefits for people exercising, for instance, or concerned about their health.

Sure, if you really dislike all this technology stuff you could go live in a log cabin in the woods, living off the land and avoiding all technology. The government will even subsidize your stay with food stamps.

But the cost of such a move is just to costly; the solution, clearly, is finding a way to embrace modern technology that minimizes the bad aspects, and maximizes the good aspects.

Re:Horseshit (1)

PPH (736903) | about a month and a half ago | (#47240341)

A technology like this could have huge benefits for people exercising, for instance, or concerned about their health.

Not really. If I'm concerned about my health, I'm more than happy to strap a monitor on. If its my baby, a mattress pad with sensors should suffice. Or a monitor above the crib.

I can't think of one good use for a through the wall heart monitor unless its to put a heart in some cross-hairs.

Re:Horseshit (1)

telchine (719345) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239735)

"The research could be used for health-tracking apps, baby monitors, and for the military and law enforcement."

The Google Maps cars could use it to automatically update your Google Fit account whist their stealing your wi-fi data and photographing your front door! How's that for progress!

So, who funded this? (3, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239307)

I have read the paper [18.7.29.232] and thing that is noticeable for an academic paper is that there appears to be no acknowledgement of the source of funding, which leads me to wonder who is paying for this and why they want that link kept quiet.

Re:So, who funded this? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239315)

I don't need to know who funded it to know that the scum who accepted the funding are immoral assholes. They know damn well this technology will be used for mass murder, and they researched it anyway.

Re:So, who funded this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239953)

Won't you think of the babies? Every time you question human-sensing technology, a baby chokes.

need a warrant to search rooms , never entered? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239327)

need a warrant to search rooms , never entered?

walk down hall in hotel, see whose heart rate elevated.

spy on spouse remotely. Having an affair?

"No where to hide" . Criminals can use it too. See if place is empty before breaking and entering....

Re:So, who funded this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239891)

I read the paper too. Then I googled the authors. First author is a Ph.D. student funded my Microsoft. Last author/Advisor/lab leader appears to be someone who researches new network protocol. I don't think the funding source nor intention of the researchers is nefarious, even if others may use it for those purposes...

So, who funded this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47240293)

Defense. Always has been the biggest sponsor of MIT and CSAIL. Google for it. They sell their brainpower in order to kill people more efficiently.

Remember the SWARTZ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239321)

Never forget the SWARTZ else you are condemned to repeat it.

What kind of walls? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239369)

The kind that can stop a not too bright light source from illuminating the next room, aka drywall? Or a real one?

Re:What kind of walls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239719)

A thin wall made of transparent glass.

Airports (1)

phorm (591458) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239397)

Depending on how well it can separate subjects, this could be quite useful in an airport for (non-descriminative) screening.

You've got one guy walking through whose heartrate is abnormally high, there's a decent change he's up to something inappropriate (smuggling, terrorism). The other possibility is that he has a fear of flying, but secondary screening should hopefully be able to determine that.

Even better, have an airport security person walk by him or just look him in the eye and smile, then see if his heart-rate goes up even more. Sudden jump in vitals... bingo!

Re:Airports (4, Informative)

m00sh (2538182) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239403)

Depending on how well it can separate subjects, this could be quite useful in an airport for (non-descriminative) screening.

You've got one guy walking through whose heartrate is abnormally high, there's a decent change he's up to something inappropriate (smuggling, terrorism). The other possibility is that he has a fear of flying, but secondary screening should hopefully be able to determine that.

Even better, have an airport security person walk by him or just look him in the eye and smile, then see if his heart-rate goes up even more. Sudden jump in vitals... bingo!

I'm pretty sure the smuggler who figures out how to keep his heart rate low can suddenly be super effective. Then, this will give the incentive to create methods to learn how to control your heart-rate and it will be soon mastered by many smugglers.

However, a normal person who has a high heart rate for whatever reason (a text from an old girlfriend, a cryptic e-mail from the boss etc) will be endlessly harassed.

The pros will get around it because they will encounter it everyday. The only people who will suffer is the ordinary people who will encounter it occasionally and have no way to know what to do and get fucked by the elaborate system setup for terrorists.

Re:Airports (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about a month and a half ago | (#47240127)

However, a normal person who has a high heart rate for whatever reason (a text from an old girlfriend, a cryptic e-mail from the boss etc) will be endlessly harassed.

Or just afraid of flying, or not in good shape/medical condition so just walking raises their blood rate/pressure and breathing...

The harassment will just make it worse...

Re:Airports (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47241021)

I'm pretty sure the smuggler who figures out how to keep his heart rate low can suddenly be super effective. Then, this will give the incentive to create methods to learn how to control your heart-rate and it will be soon mastered by many smugglers.

It is worth noting that the TSA has a human-powered version of this, they call it behavior detection [cnn.com] and they've spent at least 1 billion dollars on it and caught 0 terrorists. Of the people they have pulled out for extra inspection, about 1% end up being arrested for things like outstanding warrants and carrying drugs. [wsj.com]

That's a 99% failure-rate in the best case. A technocratic version of the same thing could be 10x more effective and it would still be a profound intrusion on basic human dignity.

Re:Airports (1)

sjames (1099) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239541)

Or, of course, he might have run from the cab to the security checkpoint because he's running late...

Another fucking military hijack (2)

musth (901919) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239405)

The research could be used for health-tracking apps, baby monitors, and for the military and law enforcement.'

Of course, always for the military and law enforcement. The ethos of technology development in this country, spreading to the world, increasingly sickens me.

Splinter Cell (1)

Emperor Tiberius (673354) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239433)

Anyone else reminded of Splinter Cell, where Sam can track people's "life signs" through his googles?

Re:Splinter Cell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239743)

Splinter cell? noo try Rainbow six games/books - as this was technology in those before it became reality.
in 98 the first Rainbow game came out for PS1 and had the "heartbeat monitor" which was through the wall tracking. It can be found mentioned in the books too.

Thank you so much, MIT (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239489)

Yes, "law enforcement", who aren't at all obsessed with lots and lots of SWAT teams and just short or even outright military hardware to make war on the populace. Who obviously need more technology to spy on, er, keep us all safe by carefully tracking our every move. Yes that's it. No safety without observation. No freedom without safety. Spying on you for your freedom!

Good call, MIT.

Re: Thank you so much, MIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47241259)

Can't keep the feminist police state going without it. In men's countries men marry little girls if they wish. In the new global religion all natural pleasures are banned and no man is free save a few at the ends of civilization.

Gaming come true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239493)

It's the heartbeat sensor from Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six stories / games!

Utter bullshit (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239497)

As a medic, I can tell you there is not a direct correlation between pulse and respiratory rate between different individuals. While pulse and respirations may generally be proportional in any one individual, there's no way they can accurately infer a pulse from knowing respiration rates, since what drives one heart to beat at 60 bpm, while he breaths at 12 rpm, might drive another to beat at 75 bpm, but respire at only 12. It all depends on the relative efficiencies of the cardiac muscle and lungs.

If this weren't so, medical persons would not be obliged when taking a patient's vital signs to record both pulse and respirations, (besides also blood pressure, temperature, etc.) but we are. The claim of 99% accuracy is what marks this story as bullshit so clearly. By the by, pulse and respirations vary within a single individual pretty wildly, from one minute to the next. So yeah... bullshit.

The disturbing part is the notion of walls and doors being about as transparent, light or dark, as your windows with the drapes pulled. Homes are increasingly becoming obsolete. Privacy is a vanishing thing. People say, "you gave up your privacy by living in society," but then again, what about those people who haven't chosen any such thing? People who've never owned a computer, and whose phones up to maybe 10 or 15 years ago had a big round thing on the front of them? People who still own cathode-ray tube television sets? People who've heard of e-mail but never sent one?

On the other hand, the notion of being able to see through walls using RF has been around for a while, so this really sounds like a bit of a non-story, or if there is a story, it's that the resolution has gotten better.

Maybe the real story is how someone wasted a bunch of grant money learning how better to peep and spy on people like little children. How sad. The money's wasted.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239535)

Make sure to buy the heartbeat sensor before deployment!

Modern Warfare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239677)

They had it right once again.

fuck a maRe (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239751)

Isn't a levmonade has ground to a Kreskin performing.' Even whether to repeat of FrreBSD Usenet sales and so on, Baby take my there are Of its core

Detection (1)

andy_spoo (2653245) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239755)

So now robot killing machines can check to see how agitated they've made you, right before they kill you. Nice.

Tracking heartbeats through walls is not new... (4, Informative)

acx2 (2798695) | about a month and a half ago | (#47239795)

Research in tracking heart rate and respiration using radio waves has been happening for decades. Technology has progressed to the point where modern devices can detect a heartbeat through 30 feet of rubble or 20 feet of solid concrete: http://www.dhs.gov/detecting-h... [dhs.gov] . Chapter 2 of Jonathan S Burnham's 2009 MIT master's thesis seems to have a nice historical overview: http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/6... [handle.net] . There probably are novel things about the MIT technology mentioned in the original post (e.g. lower power RF or better separation of individuals), but there is nothing new about tracking heart rate and respiratory rate through walls.

Better Versions exist (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47239833)

Radar work performed in Italy can see the movement of the heart directly:

http://www.rslab.ru/seminar/reference/2005_12_20/Staderini,%20UWB_Radar_in_Medicine.pdf

This is very old tech...like 1960's or '50s.

Science is wonderful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47240069)

If only the people that will inevitably apply these new discoveries weren't the exact opposite.

Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47240317)

It's called a "bat". As in the flying mammal.

don't be fooled (1)

Khashishi (775369) | about a month and a half ago | (#47240365)

What do you think this technology will be used for?

99 percent accuracy??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47240379)

What does 'determine a person's heart rate with 99 percent accuracy' mean??? Does that mean a SE of 1% on the heart rate or just that 1% of the test subjects got wildly wrong readings?
TFA cites a report that measures the breath rate which says it is tracked within a rounding error of one breadth during all the experiment. But that report never mentions heart rate...

This is not new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47240433)

Too late MIT! VAWD out of Tucson AZ has been doing this for years now. No, I don't work there, but I have seen this tech in action and it's super cool.

http://www.vawdengineering.com

MIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47241355)

working on the important and useful stuff

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...