Remember that scene in The Dark Knight where Batman reveals he’s turned every phone in the city into a surveillance device? This… is a little bit like that, except it only has university-level funding and it can’t find the Joker in the space of a few hours.
But, other than that, more or less exactly the same thing. With limits. Researchers at Glasgow University have come up with an algorithm that can use a device like a smartphone or a laptop to identify the layout of a room, using sonar or echolocation.
Batman at home
The algorithm uses sounds or radio waves generated by a smartphone or a laptop, as well as the device’s microphone/antennae, to reveal the contents of a room, including any people who might be standing in it. It measures the echos and distortions caused by interference with whatever it is emitting, forming an image of the room from the data collected.
“Echolocation in animals is a remarkable ability, and science has managed to recreate the ability to generate three-dimensional images from reflected echoes in a number of different ways, like RADAR and LiDAR,” said Dr Alex Turpin, from Glasgow’ University’s School of Computing Science and School of Physics and Astronomy.
“What sets this research apart from other systems is that, firstly, it requires data from just a single input – the microphone or the antenna – to create three-dimensional images. Secondly, we believe that the algorithm we’ve developed could turn any device with either of those pieces of kit into an echolocation device.”
So exactly like Batman’s dystopian surveillance tech. Only not exactly the same, yet. Got it. It’s got potential application in the security industries, certainly, but there’s still more work to be done. The research team intends to “…[explore] the possibilities of generating more high-resolution images in the future.”
Source: The Next Web