Rutgers University researchers have developed a low-cost WiFi technology for security screening public places such as stadiums and schools.
According to the researchers, the new tech has been specifically designed to detect weapons, bombs and explosive chemicals in bags at museums, stadiums, theme parks, schools and other public venues.
The detection system which is easy to set up, could drastically reduce security screening costs and avoid invading privacy such as when screeners open and inspect bags, backpacks and luggage.
“This could have a great impact in protecting the public from dangerous objects,” said the study’s co-author and Electrical and Computer Engineering professor, Yingying Chen. “There’s a growing need for that now.”
According to the researchers, WiFi in most public places can penetrate bags to get the dimensions of dangerous metal objects and identify them, including weapons, aluminum cans, laptops and batteries for bombs.
It can also be used to estimate the volume of liquids such as water, acid, alcohol and other chemicals for explosives.
All that the Rutgers system requires is a WiFi device with two to three antennas that can be integrated into existing WiFi networks.
The system then analyzes what happens when wireless signals penetrate and bounce off objects and materials.
Experiments with 15 types of objects and six types of bags demonstrated detection accuracy rates of 99 percent for dangerous objects, 98 percent for metal and 95 percent for liquid.
For typical backpacks, the accuracy rate exceeds 95 percent and drops to about 90 percent when objects inside bags are wrapped, Chen said.
The study included researchers mainly from Rutgers’ Wireless Information Network Laboratory (WINLAB) as well as engineers from the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Binghamton University.
DAISY Lab/Yingying Chen/Rutgers University–New Brunswick