Wi-Fi radio signals are found in 61 percent of homes in the U.S. and 25 percent worldwide, so Karl Woodbridge and Kevin Chetty, researchers at University College London, designed their detector to use these ubiquitous signals. When a radio wave reflects off a moving object, its frequency changes—a phenomenon called the Doppler effect. Their radar prototype identifies frequency changes to detect moving objects. It’s about the size of a suitcase and contains a radio receiver composed of two antennas and a signal-processing unit. In tests, they have used it to determine a person’s location, speed and direction—even through a one-foot-thick brick wall. Because the device itself doesn’t emit any radio waves, it can’t be detected.
The system, devised by Karl Woodbridge and Kevin Chetty, requires two antennae and a signal processing unit (i.e. computer), and is no larger than a suitcase. Unlike normal radar, which emits radio waves and then measures any reflected signals, this new system operates in complete stealth.