You must log in or register to comment.

weizXR t1_iv8ftd9 wrote

It triangulates Wi-Fi signals, that's all. It does not detect anything visual or even physical, just where sources of Wi-Fi signals are. It does this by seeing the difference in amplitude/strength of the signal depending on where it moves.

It's cool that they bought a drone with Wi-Fi for $20 and the fact they're so cheap now, but beyond that... nothing here is new or even clever.


no-name-here t1_iv92hhq wrote

Thank you for clarifying - the headline implies something incredibly different.

Regarding the price, another commenter said the drone and parts shown add over $500:


weizXR t1_iv9p56o wrote

Damn, so not only the title, but the first few paragraphs is misleading af. That's like saying 'I used a $20 device to do X'... after attaching it to my $500 Y.

Garbage article.


GlockAF t1_ivbevdv wrote

Bog-standard Alarmist “journalism”.

Fear and sex make clicks, clicks make money


receivebrokenfarmers t1_ivbm1b6 wrote

Looking at the components they added to the drone they would be about $20 shipped off Amazon resellers and about $10 or less shipped from AliExpress. Probably what was said before journalistic purple monkey dishwasher happened.


D-Rich-88 t1_ivb3nhn wrote

Yeah I was picturing seeing through walls like the movie Eraser


phant-m t1_ivendgr wrote

Gizmodo is mostly click bait these days


CompassionateCedar t1_iv9ls4d wrote

Actually you can use wifi signals to get a rough layout of a room. Not with this kind of setup, you would need a directional antenna.

It’s been demonstrated by a bunch of nerds messing around with a home made radio telescope years ago.

Wifi uses the electromagnetic spectrum. Just like light does. Except it can pass trough walls. So you can use it to “see” into a room but because of the wavelength is so large and it will pass trough a lot of stuff you will mostly see things that are highly reflective to wifi and other sources of electromagnetic radiation with the same wavelength.


somerandomii t1_ivaa306 wrote

Well water reacts particularly well, and we’re mostly water. So it can be used to track people inside a building fairly well. And because wifi is providing the “active” part of this active scanner, it can be done very covertly. It would be hard to detect that someone is monitoring your building.

But that isn’t what this article is about.


MrHaVoC805 t1_ivbnzw9 wrote

It's actually pretty easy to see if someone is using WiFi to monitor a building. The hard part is nailing down exactly where they are if it's not inside your building.


somerandomii t1_ivcd219 wrote

It’s pretty hard if they’re only listening to your wifi strength and not emitting themself.


MrHaVoC805 t1_ivgl575 wrote

Except for the whole drones being controlled by what's basically WiFi, they use 2.4 and 5ghz frequencies for that and it will be actively transmitting.


somerandomii t1_ivh45oh wrote

As I said, I’m not talking about the technology in the article. That’s an entirely different use case.

Also autonomous drones don’t need to emit wifi. But you wouldn’t fly a drone around a building to covertly monitor personnel. Drones aren’t very subtle.


flynnwebdev t1_iv9rrx4 wrote

So the headline is clickbait. Welp, color me surprised! /s


myalt08831 t1_ivarbmb wrote

It's not the amplitude of signal strength. Time of flight uses a precise timestamp in the data packet from the exact moment when the packet is emitted, and you use the time elapsed between the initial timestamp and when you got the message, divided by the expected physical speed of propagating the signal through space, to estimate distance from the transmitter to the receiver.


lag0matic t1_ivc9qfc wrote

If the drone in the photos is the one they used, I want in on their sources. That’s a DJI mini, they’re a few hundred bucks lol


Sirisian t1_iv7tqjb wrote

Wi-Fi device positioning is incredibly old. Students at my university used a similar technique for triangulating people. Using a drone though is interesting as it can quickly fly around getting a lot of measurements at specific locations.


ph30nix01 t1_iv7mzc3 wrote

I'm telling you all this surveillance is going to lead to a lawsuit over the ownership of timetravel.


liz-lemon-eyeroll t1_iv817uu wrote

how do you-


DarkthorneLegacy t1_iv8qsap wrote



popejubal t1_iva5dm2 wrote

June 28, 2009 - the date of Stephen Hawkins’s time travel party. It’s a shame that the dates were the same. Time travelers all were unable to attend the party because they had to be in time court on that day.


dillrepair t1_iv7o8gq wrote

Okay so anyone hacked into my router (government etc) can use the router to do the exact same thing right?


ecksate t1_iv7s54o wrote

Anyone who can receive the signal from your router can see through the walls. Your router doesn't know where you are in your house.

The article probably answers your questions if you care to click it.


Orcwin t1_iv86lvy wrote

No. It will be able to see which devices are connected, not where in the house those devices are. The concept from the article has multiple radios, and can therefore do triangulation of the received signals.


Whatdafuqisgoingon t1_iv8ry3x wrote

Using the drones WiFi to call out to your devices and their responses include distance. all a drone would need to do is do fly the perimeter of your house making multiple callouts and then it would be able to make a fairly accurate guess where everything is based on all the TOF calls.

Your router is capable of the same thing but it doesn't tend to move. Wifi triangulation happens in lots of places. Casinos and even in big box public stores like Walmart and Target. They aren't using drones to track you, instead use their multiple antenna's to see which area's of the store you visit.


Emu1981 t1_iv9bde6 wrote

>The concept from the article has multiple radios, and can therefore do triangulation of the received signals.

It depends on how accurate of a fix you want. I have a old router that could do fairly accurate Wi-Fi triangulation but the accuracy decreased as the RF clutter increased (e.g. walls between the router and the device).


slyiscoming t1_iv8sq7u wrote

It's not just the router. It's everything on wifi.


deeperest t1_ivbfair wrote

No he's saying his router can already "see" everything going on in his house (from a wifi standpoint) so if you get access to it, you get access to the same information.

And the answer is, not quite, as you can't get multiple points of measurement of directional signals from a router in a single spot.


Skratymir t1_iv7uq2p wrote

"20$ off the shelf drone"

shows 500$ dji camera drone


Orcwin t1_iv86civ wrote

I suspect the writer misunderstood, and the cost is for the custom electronics attached to it. That will add up to about that much (less if you import straight from China). Those ESP boards are dirt cheap and quite versatile.


wezerl t1_ivbidyc wrote

I checked on Aliexpress, all parts together cost roughly 10€ including shipping. ESPCAM ~7€, ESP8266 1.25€, Voltage Regulator 1.40€


Orcwin t1_ivbj63v wrote

There's an ESP32 on there too, but those go for around €2, so it doesn't add much.


wezerl t1_ivbjb95 wrote

The board they used is called ESPCam on Aliexpress, it's an ESP32 with a microsd slot and a connector for a camera.

Edit: Those are a bit more expensive since they come with a Camera module


CheeseSteak17 t1_iv89w1n wrote

Yeah, those parts alone are less than $20, so it probably includes expedited shipping.


Dependent-Clerk8754 t1_iv7k402 wrote

Kyllo v U.S. protects Americans against govt for this. My British friends live in a more surveillance society, though.


beaverbait t1_iv7o48i wrote

Only after the government gets caught doing it and only if any of the corrupt system actaually holds them accountable. Which is unlikely at best.


JohannesOliver t1_iv82e10 wrote

It’s about criminal charges, they could not use this without a warrant. Mass surveillance is something else, the government will do what the government wants to do.

The cited case was regarding a person suspected of a marijuana grow. The police used thermal imaging without a warrant to get a conviction. The Supreme Court determined it was considered a search by the fourth amendment (5-4 decision, btw). That would be similar here.


Ownza t1_iv83se7 wrote

>they could not use this without a warrant.

You mean that they would use parallel construction after knowing what they know after using it, and wouldn't tell you they used it. You wouldn't know they used it.


JohannesOliver t1_iv84fqq wrote

Maybe, if they were able to. For what it is I think that could be difficult though.


zain_monti t1_iv7yqet wrote

Na I always thought the usa was more then a surveillance society the us


JohannesOliver t1_iv82oju wrote

Absolutely not. GCHQ does the same stuff the NSA does, but your overt surveillance (CCTV and the like) is significantly more than the US has. I think they probably like that the US gets all the publicity though.

In the US the cops have to ask private citizens for CCTV footage much of the time. Ring kind of let them in without doing that, but it is still a private entity.


Dependent-Clerk8754 t1_iv8du5x wrote

The police in the UK can track you from London to Manchester constantly in your car. In the U.S., they have to get a warrant to put a tracker on your car. There are over 1million CCTVs in London.


jjj49er t1_ivex831 wrote

The US government is not known for obeying its own laws.


EgalitarianCrusader t1_iv7s9c3 wrote

Wasn't there something revealed recently that used wi-fi to literally view PEOPLE (not devices) through walls?

Edit: Video link is here.


create360 t1_iv7rdms wrote

Why is it a drone?


cockmanderkeen t1_iv8ou45 wrote

> In addition, the device’s operation via drone means that it can be used quickly and remotely without much chance of the user being detected.”


Frankie_T9000 t1_iv93np2 wrote

You mean apart from the buzzing drone moving around the building in question?


cockmanderkeen t1_iv948cm wrote

Yeah but if you capture my drone you just know someone was surveilling you, if you capture me I go to jail for my part in the crime or there's a diplomatic incident for spying e.t.c.


ben_vito t1_iv8zntm wrote

It can fly around to get a better triangulation of all the devices.


pixelbased t1_iv7rqkv wrote

I imagine that there might be a desire to see trough walls that are taller than what a handheld device would be capable of reaching…like if you had to see through the walls of the 40th floor of a building from the ground. Aside, this thing is horrific and doesn’t need to be made. We need privacy laws.


Frankie_T9000 t1_iv94n5h wrote

>Aside, this thing is horrific and doesn’t need to be made

Really? Horriffic that it can see wifi signals and pinpoint them. This is old tech and the article is just sensationalism.

I dont know about anyone else, but im not stricken with fear about this, though I do wish people wouldnt do this sort of shit.


pixelbased t1_iv9o3ho wrote

How dare you accuse me of not reading the article and simply having a knee jerk reaction to a click bait headline as if this was Reddit or something!


EVOSexyBeast t1_iv93mpc wrote

No it doesn’t actually see through walls. It can approximate the location of wifi devices. You can do the same thing by walking outside the building with the device in hand. Drones make a lot of noise and it would probably be more stealthy to just walk up to the building.


LowBadger3622 t1_iv7vvnc wrote

You mean you want me to facilitate you taking control of everybody’s phone in the city? I won’t do it


Upper_Decision_5959 t1_iv8guf8 wrote

Military is going to like this one.


Lucky1941 t1_ivag8rc wrote

I seem to remember USSOCOM actually putting out a contract opportunity for related tech about a year ago. Wonder what became of that.


Teamnoq t1_ivaue1f wrote

Misleading headline. It’s more like all Wi-Fi enabled devices can be located in a house. It’s not actually able to see people , pets. furniture, etc.through walls that do not have devices connected to them.


bubbbert t1_iv84vtf wrote

What is the name of the $20 drone?


Charred_nuns t1_iv9bolj wrote

That’s a picture of a $500 dji drone. The journalist has no idea.


recursive-analogy t1_iv8ch6j wrote

>use it to “see through walls,” or, rather, approximate the location of devices via sneaky scanning.

I have an "invisibility cloak", or rather, a sign that says don't look at me


BarryFruitman t1_iv8t3mw wrote

So that’s why “see through walls” is in quotes


Shurigin t1_iv9qbve wrote

US Government, "OMG that's so inappropriate and super invasive, we'll take 1000"


St3v3nMS3 t1_ivb1a4m wrote

We would be better off if they didn’t tell everyone about their invention and how you could make one.


LegitimateCrows t1_ivb3nfj wrote

Seen the movie Minority Report? It’s coming.


nihilrx t1_ivb8e1c wrote

More concerned about DRT-box drones and stingray.


Flacksguy t1_iv8ey7y wrote

Thats not a $20 drone. Just saying. That one is $450.


StoneFenrir t1_iv8jyxe wrote

A more accurate headline would have been:

“…a drone that can locate devices through walls.”


Ennion t1_iv8kbvp wrote

Blue Thunder?


Lachee t1_iv8l2gq wrote

Detecting wifi isn't invasive... You're literally broadcasting your ssid


willstr1 t1_iv8lo3j wrote

So you are saying you gave a drone ESP, using an ESP card?


DreadPirateGriswold t1_iv8m94m wrote

"You were so busy figuring out how you could do it you didn't bother to think if you SHOULD do it."

Hear that somewhere before...


haydukejackson t1_iv8nuvm wrote

Our phones already do this for navigation.


PlaceboJesus t1_iv8p5fl wrote

More of the could instead of should, again.


[deleted] t1_iv8pg1z wrote

Jokes on them, my walls have metal window screen material in them. I can barely use wifi one room over.

Fuck if I know why, it's a cookie cutter 1980s split level in the Pacific Northwest. There's a couple hundred like it here in town. One of the previous owners was either paranoid or used it to resurface the drywall.


JamimaPanAm t1_iv8qcr1 wrote

Ooh! Spooky! Just like every other boogie post on this sub. In the future, please refrain from posting self-fulfilling prophecies of doom and gloom. Posters like you poison the well.


Sonyguyus t1_iv9c9ux wrote

“We hope the thing we just invented and explained how it works doesn’t fall into the wrong hands”


syzygy-xjyn t1_iva2vh2 wrote

Esp is the hack function to see shit through walls on old school counter strike hacks. Are these actual Myg0t researchers?


dudicus1414 t1_iva7zs6 wrote

CIA, FBI, NSA, DHS, ATF, and all the other letter people are drooling right now


urkldajrkl t1_iva8050 wrote

"Alexa, where is the human?"


AudioOff t1_ivaccb4 wrote

So basically a fancy version of sticking a wifi pineapple to an off the shelf drone. Neat but not particularly innovative.


mexpyro t1_ivacoqk wrote

That’s considered hacking… walling is not allowed in real life.


navaed01 t1_ivad2xa wrote

I’ll tell you what’s invasive, the Gizmodo page the article was on. Yes So many good damn ads popping up everywhere. I felt like I was playing fruit ninja ads edition


myalt08831 t1_ivaqqmo wrote

They can triangulate the location of wireless devices without line of sight, by repeatedly measuring 1-dimensional distance data and sampling from multiple measuring locations. Kinda like how GPS works. The data is positioning only, and indirectly/approximately derived.

I wouldn't call that "seeing through walls" as if it's an x-ray camera. I might say "it can see the 3d position of wireless devices through walls, but no visuals, it can just see the spots the things are at."

They can also reverse-engineer what the device is likely to be, by cross-referencing its unique MAC address with the manufacturer that has reserved those addresses. So, something by Apple is probably a computing device or an AirPort router or whatever.

I dunno, man, this headline feels way too hyped up. A persistent person could definitely profile where stuff is in your building, but that's a hell of a lot of effort to case a joint than just traditional means, IMO. Sounds like the kind of stuff only spies would care about, or organized crime maybe.


leshuis t1_ivb0e7g wrote

so probably already 'out there' with intelligence organisations


ItsGodzirrah t1_ivbkfqd wrote

Morgan Freeman made the same thing for Batman more than 10 years ago


more979 t1_ivc4wue wrote

Just wait till you hear about Apple indoor positioning….

It works in any iOS app as well as websites viewed in Safari or other WebKit compatible browsers on iOS devices. “Coverage of indoor positioning can be increased by simply installing additional Wi-Fi access points and enabling beaconing mode. The access points do not need to be connected to any network and their SSID can be hidden so they are not discoverable.”


PotatoePotatoe42 t1_ivc7hxi wrote

No worries here my walls don't have any WiFi.


Serpardum t1_ivc9et4 wrote

They triangulate radio signals. We have been able to do things like this for years.


hdksjabsjs t1_ive12e6 wrote

Let’s get the torches and pitchforks and go after these fucks before it’s too late


Cellosv t1_iv8cjjb wrote

Funny my professor was talking about this years ago. Not the article but how WiFi could he used like an X-ray to see things since we use WiFi everywhere .


mellowfelloe t1_ivabe3k wrote

Wifi xray has been out for years. Radar has been used to track russian submarine commanders based on face.


jackrack1721 t1_ivagoxs wrote

It's easier to do this using 5G.


doginjoggers t1_ivb7hgb wrote

Only with 5g capable devices and only if you have remote access to the network. So actually not easier


jackrack1721 t1_ivb85ug wrote

You think there's more WiFi in America than 5G?


doginjoggers t1_ivbf85v wrote

I know for a certainty, all 5G devices are WiFi enabled, then you've got all the non-5G devices and non-cellular devices like smart watches, printers, laptops/PCs, Alexas, ring doorbells etc.


PocketDog t1_ivai2v2 wrote

Check their hard drives.


sewser t1_ivaj9wd wrote

That’s it. It’s over for us.


x2475bravo61 t1_ivbhgqt wrote

Can we stop with these BS articles yet? Not only is the title misleading, just about everything here is lies and/or deception. That's not how any of this really works.