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7 unexpected WiFi uses

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In an era where WiFi has become almost as vital as air, how much do we know about its capabilities beyond internet connection? The Geonode team delved into some unexpected uses of WiFi and unveils its lesser-known capabilities.

Beyond the Internet: 7 WiFi Uses You Never Knew Were Possible

“WiFi, designed a century ago, confidently connects more than just a network. It continues to grow at a fast pace, drastically changing our lives more than we could ever imagine,” says Josh Gordon, a Technology Expert at Geonode.

  1. Reviving Non-Human Intelligence with WiFi
    WiFi signals power wire-free remote control of devices and robots, offering transformative potential in automated factories, healthcare, and homes. WiFi-driven surgical robots can enhance precision and reduce healthcare costs during “keyhole” surgery. WiFi-enabled home appliances, from vacuums to televisions, provide ultimate convenience for future smart homes.
  2. Augmenting Health and Wellbeing
    It’s the era of virtual doctors and digital healthcare – and WiFi is a key player. The art of remote patient monitoring and telemedicine has been propelled to new heights by WiFi power. Connectivity ensures critical health data can be transferred in real-time, while wearables and home diagnostic tools can provide vital health metrics to medical professionals.
  3. Ground-Breaking Field Research
    WiFi is not limited to homes and hospitals. It is growing into an indispensable tool for field researchers globally, especially in areas like wildlife tracking and environmental studies.
    – Wildlife Tracking: A system named WildWID provides an open-source active RFID system for wildlife research, aiding in understanding wildlife epidemiology, communication, and predator–prey dynamics, with potential applications for proximity-activated wildlife deterrent systems.
    – Environmental Monitoring: Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) have been deployed for monitoring wildlife passages in rural and forest environments, aiding in specimen protection and conservation, especially in natural reserves and dangerous locations. This technology, while not WiFi, shares the wireless communication principle, highlighting the potential for WiFi to be similarly utilized.
  4. Through-wall Imaging
    MIT researchers created Wi-Vi, a prototype for tracking objects behind non-transparent surfaces like walls. It can even discern the motion of people behind walls. Other projects demonstrated WiFi’s ability to image the English alphabet through walls, and a WiFi-enabled device was developed to track moving objects or people behind walls.
  5. Precision Tracking with WiFi
    WiFi signals enable precise movement detection without body sensors or cameras. This technology has diverse applications, including elder care monitoring in facilities to detect falls or distress. Additionally, it enhances home security by tracking intruders’ movements without dedicated motion sensors.

Material Identification
WiMi utilizes Channel State Information (CSI) from WiFi signals, using both amplitude and phase data to distinguish various materials based on their interactions with WiFi signals. This system generates material-specific features, independent of the target’s size, offering an alternative to camera-based methods, particularly in scenarios where such methods are impractical or less desirable in everyday life.

Machine Learning with WiFi
WiFi data, when harnessed with machine learning, can be used to predict patterns and trends. This could be particularly valuable for businesses wanting to analyze customer behavior or for identifying energy-saving opportunities in buildings.
– Businesses can use WiFi analytics to understand how customers move around their premises, helping them optimize store layouts and advertising placements.
– Building managers could analyze WiFi-based occupancy patterns to optimize HVAC system operation, potentially saving significant energy and costs.

The Road Ahead
As we stroll into the era of IoT and advanced technologies, the WiFi possibilities we see today are just the tip of the iceberg. With rapid advancements in the domain of WiFi and wireless technology, we can expect even more revolutionary uses of this ubiquitous communication tool. As Josh Gordon puts it, “The real power of WiFi lies in realizing that it is no longer just a tool for connectivity. It is a technology that can sense, adapt, and learn from our everyday life.”

 

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