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Before you creep out by this “see-through” concept, let me inform you that these sensors can see through the walls.

The intellectuals of MIT have developed a health-tracking sensor that has “see-through” properties. The sensor can actually “see” through walls. The prototype device is built by an MIT professor can wirelessly track your health – even through concrete walls – using a mix of machine learning and radio signals.

Professor Dina Katabi’s device bears a resemblance to a Wi-Fi router and is especially designed to sit in your house and proctor your heart rate, gait, sleep, breathing and many more things as you continue with your routine. The device has been already put to work in over 200 households of both healthy people and those with pulmonary diseases, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and depression around the U.S.

How does it work?

The tool emits a low-power radio signal that collides with nearby people’s bodies and back to the box. The neural network situated under the hood then studies these reflected signals to evaluate a person’s movements and posture without cameras and behind walls. Furthermore, it can extract all the valuable data collected from those same signals.

Katabi, in her addressal at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech symposium in Cambridge, Massachusetts revealed some interesting details about the device that she has been building for the last several years. The box takes the advantage of the fact that every time we move—even just a teeny tiny movement like breathing ­– we change the electromagnetic field that surrounds us.

The Professor cofounded a startup called Emerald Innovations to cash in on the technology and has already made the device accessible to pharmaceutical and biotech companies for analysis.

Studies have successfully showcased the device’s ability to accurately monitor sleep, inclusive of the individual sleep stages potentially replacing the strenuous studies that require partakers to wear electrodes and take an uncomfortable nap in the lab.

Apart from this, the device can silently track people to provide better insights into a patient’s life and the medication they are taking. This feature will certainly help the doctors to work out how particular prescriptions help certain patients but not are as effective for others.

Discussing it in terms of privacy, the device only functions with your consent and is totally encrypted. Additionally, it makes it mandatory for the user to complete a set of specific movements before it can successfully start tracking you. Thus, it is practically impossible to pry on an unwilling participant.

Undoubtedly, gadgets with heart rate monitors are in vogue (the Apple Watch 4, in the meantime, comes with EKG or electrocardiogram can detect atrial fibrillation too) and there are sleep tracking devices to monitor the amount of quality sleep that we are getting. But this piece of technology, its inventor claims, can singly give grittier physiological data to your physician.

It is not very far when it will be possible to replace the collection of uncomfortably, bulky, and expensive gear that we currently require for getting medical data about our bodies.

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Patricia Kellogg is a journalist who has held many editorial roles at numerous high-profile publishers – both offline as well as online. She has an experience of more than 10 years in editing and proofreading articles across a range of sectors. She is also well versed with handling academic journal articles, theses, technical manuals, press releases, reports, feature articles, web site content, promotional material, policy papers, and grant proposals.


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