Future Technologies: Explosives can be detected with WiFi alone?

- Jul 26, 2019-

We all know that Aoteng brand's latest explosive detector is equipped with intelligent Windows system, and can connect to wireless network through wifi. Wifi Internet makes the transmission and storage of detection data convenient and fast. But abroad, some people have opened their brains and come up with the idea of using a WiFi signal that is already ubiquitous in many public places to check explosives and weapons.


According to foreign media reports, the growing problem of weapons and explosives in public places has led to the implementation of security checkpoints in some schools in the United States. However, many of these technology and equipment are huge and expensive, and need to be operated by employees. At present, the detection of suspicious items in luggage and backpacks may require special and expensive equipment, such as surveillance cameras, X-ray security machines, metal security doors and ultra-wideband scanners. Sometimes, baggage inspection needs to be done manually, which not only requires the presence of employees, but also may violate the privacy of others.

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The aim of the new study is to simplify the detection of weapons, bombs and dangerous chemicals using more accessible technologies. The scientists involved in the project, from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis and Binghamton University, used Wi-Fi to conduct surveys, which have been widely installed in many public places.


Wi-Fi acts on radio frequency signals and responds conveniently to bags made of fibers or plastics, rather than metal or liquid containers that may constitute dangerous objects. It can even estimate the amount of liquid in existence, including other chemicals that may be used in explosives. To explore these possibilities, the team built a system with two or three Wi-Fi antennas and scanned 15 objects hidden in six bags. Through a series of experiments, scientists have found that the detection accuracy of this technology is 99% for dangerous objects, 98% for metals and 95% for liquids. In ordinary backpacks, the accuracy is usually more than 95%, even if the object is wrapped up, the accuracy will still reach about 90%.


At present, this method still requires people to pass security checkpoints and staff to scan. But the team says using Wi-Fi is low-cost because the system can be easily integrated into existing networks. "This may have a significant impact on protecting the public from dangerous goods," said Yingying Chen, co-author of the study. "In large public places, it is difficult to build screening infrastructure as expensive as an airport. People always need manpower to check luggage. We want to develop a supplementary method to reduce manpower. In future work, the team plans to identify objects more accurately by imaging the system and estimating the volume of liquid.


Finally, we can't help but wonder that in the future, it's not ridiculous to realize that explosions can be detected only by WiFi signals.