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As I’m writing, I feel as if we’re headed into the twilight zone.  Let me get right to the point.  WI-FI has  had a tremendous (positive) effect in our daily lives.  We use it for our tablets, laptops, desktops, phones, PDA’s, build entire wireless networks, Internet radio, games….just to mention a few things.  This technology has completely changed the way we function as a society.  I just came across an experiment which undoubtedly will unveil the ugly side of WI-FI.

The experiment was to see if the breathing  of patients in a hospital could be monitored by a WI-FI network.  It turned out to be very effective in doing  just that.  “The network was able to accurately estimate a person’s breathing rate to within 0.4 breaths per minute”.  In other words, it was accurate enough to measure fluctuations caused by individual breaths. “WOW”

After a revision of today’s  breathing monitoring methods, doubts arose to overshadow the unbelievable outcome of the experiment.   The problem stems from the fact that outside of measuring the persons breathing, WI-FI was unable to measure the amount of carbon dioxide in exhaled gases.  This in better handled through conventional methods such as the use of a mask with tubes going down each nostril.  In addition, wireless monitoring would significantly increase the amount of radio waves in hospitals.

Now here is the dark side!!! 

 Based on the above statements this will not be used in medicine. Then what else can it be used for?  Since radio signals at Wi-Fi frequencies are able to penetrate walls, “a wireless network set up outside a home could track people as they move from room to room. With this new level of precision, a system tailored for surveillance could spy on people as they move around a hotel room, for example, or even discern whether they are resting on a couch or in bed.”   For further reading click here

Your daily food for thought!


Comments on: "WI-FI, Friend or Foe?" (6)

  1. Bravo, Gerard! A good and appropriate comment over the Wi-Fi technology trends. However in the vast and incredible digital landscape it should also be noted that for every pratical positive beneficial advance there is always a dark side to it. This takes me back to the advent of VHS and DVD recording and viewing. I was amazed by the fact that for every “clean” movie available, hundred if not thousand pornografic movies were made. The ratio was just outstanding. The point is we should expect that human tendancy to pervert the usage of any available technological progress toward either bigger mass destruction arms (Why do nations keep making powerful nuclear and thermonuclear bombs?) or severe state police monitoring tools as would be the case in Wi-Fi applications? Only better constraining legislations will stop that tendancy in a truly democratic process!!!!

  2. Hello Gerard very interesting what you have written here. I think is another proof that the technology is becoming more strong than ever, and personally i found it kind of scary,

    This is a another fact that let us know, that every day we are loosing, more and more privacy,and like you just wrote, in near future they can determine the exact location, of a person using a wi-fi capable device.

    I don’t know if you have heard about MONDEX, is a small device of the size of a grain of rice, that can save all your credit history, that’s mean that you don’t need to used the regular Credit Card, you just put your right hand, on this RF scanner, and automatically deduct the money from your account, and not only that, it can track you no matter where you at, because of the the built in GPS.

    I know it is not the same, but if you read about it, everything have a correlation, which is, make you feel secure while they take your privacy away.

    And i know you just give a brief explanation, about how it works, but i still don’t get, how come it can know the exact position, of a person.

    I will really appreciate your answer.



    • I hope my answer will clarify things a bit for by supplying more details. A man by the name of “Neal Patwari of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and colleagues noticed variations in wireless signal strength triggered by a person’s breathing, but only at certain locations around the room. So they set up an experiment to test whether a wireless network could reliably measure breathing rate.

      In the test, Patwari lay in a hospital bed surrounded by 20 inexpensive, off-the-shelf wireless units. These were arrayed so that they sent 2.4 gigahertz radio waves across the bed – the same frequency as Wi-Fi – but with one-thousandth the power of a laptop’s wireless card. The units measured the signal strength four times a second – fast enough to measure fluctuations caused by individual breaths.

      After collecting 30 seconds of data, the network was able to accurately estimate a person’s breathing rate to within 0.4 breaths per minute.
      Patwari concludes that the wireless signals bent around his chest as it rose with each inhalation, causing them to travel a longer distance and decrease slightly in power”.
      Your comments are greatly appreciated.

      • Thank you very much for this clarification, but like i said, this is another proof of how, the technology can make our lives, a little bit easier.


  3. It’s impressive to see how far WI-FI system can be integrated into the medicine field but what i’m wondering is: are they going to ensure us that there’s a built-in firewall that will get rid of interference that could automatically shut down the signal?

    • In response to your question, based on the results of this experiment; they will not be using this monitoring method in the medical field. Your comments are greatly appreciated.

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