Patients that wander away from their beds are a constant headache for nurses, while those that stay bedridden for too long can create problems of their own. New technology from MIT may soon allow hospital staff to see in real time the location of all the people in the facility. Because the new tech uses existing WiFi routers, it shouldn’t require a lot of additional capital investment to implement.
Relevant electromagnetic qualities of our bodies make radio signals in the WiFi range reflect off of us, though they pass just fine through most walls. By beaming such radio waves from multiple locations and different detectors, the MIT researchers were able to triangulate the outlines of humans sitting, standing, and walking in different areas. The system is so accurate that it is able to draw stick figures of the individuals it detects, fairly accurately mimicking their arm and leg movements.
Though the system can be used for tracking where people are and whether they’re ambulatory or not, it can potentially also be used to monitor the progression of movement disorders such as Parkinson’s and essential tremor.
Here’s a fun video showing off the technology: