New wireless technology from MIT could bring password-free Wi-Fi2016-04-01 03:05 by Daniela
Researchers at MIT have developed a wi-fi system, called Chronos that enables a single WiFi access point to locate users to within tens of centimeters, without any external sensors.
Chronos can compute "time of flight" (time that it takes for data to travel from the user to an access point) with an average error of just 0.47 nanoseconds, making it 20 times more accurate than existing systems. In fact, by multiplying the time of flight by the speed of light, Chronos can calculate not just the angle, but the actual distance from a user to an access point.
This technology could mean safer drones, smarter homes and password-free WiFi. It would also be useful for those businesses that offer free wi-fi to their customers. If implemented, the users will be able to use the wi-fi only in the range of the access point which is usually limited. This way people who are not customers (but just pass by) won't be able to use the network.
"Knowing both the distance and the angle allows you to compute the user's position using just one access point," said MIT PhD student Deepak Vasisht. "This is encouraging news for the many small businesses and consumers that don't have the luxury of owning several access points."
"From developing drones that are safer for people to be around, to tracking where family members are in your house, Chronos could open up new avenues for using WiFi in robotics, home automation and more," Vasisht added. "Designing a system that enables one WiFi node to locate another is an important step for wireless technology."
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