Passive Wireless Detection System

Available for: Licensing and Joint Development


A team of researchers at UCL’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, have developed a method for detection and tracking using existing wireless signals (WiFi) present in the everyday environment.

The Technology and its advantages

The Passive Wireless Detection System uses software defined radio architecture, which includes proprietary signal processing and a graphic user interface. The hardware consists of a reference antennas and a surveillance antenna, the computing and display unit. The system detects the change if frequency of radio waves reflected off a moving object (Doppler effect).

Because WiFi signals (and other radio waves) propagate through walls, the system can be used to detect movement behind walls up to one foot thick. Detection is passive as there is no dedicated transmitter or emitted radiation from the unit itself resulting in a system that is covert and undetectable, small size and low power. In addition, there is no need for a spectrum license fee. The detection system offers great flexibility as the operational parameters can be changed and adjusted through a software update or a simple hardware plug-in.

Currently, a demonstrator unit exists which has been successfully deployed in a normal urban environment to detect the presence and movement of a person behind a wall.

Market Opportunity

Passive detection offers opportunities for commercial exploitation as a covert surveillance system for indoor detection and tracking, scanning of buildings and urban environment, traffic movement detection. Additional application areas are monitoring of children or the elderly in an unobtrusive manner at home

Intellectual Property

A patent application has now proceeded into PCT phase

Further Information

Please contact Dr Vassilios Albanis, Business Manager | T: +44 (0) 20 7679 9000 | E: