Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have given a robot the power of x-ray vision through the use of Wi-Fi.
Two autonomous robots move around a structure while one robot sends signals off the other, which allowed analysts to measure the strength of signals, according to The Verge.
Data is then collected by the receiving robot so it can determine where the signal is strong and where it is weak. The robot will then use the information to build a two-dimensional picture of what it was looking at.
The two robots, designed by a research group led by Dr. Yasamin Mostofi, were built with wheels for traveling around a square concrete structure. By measuring the drop in signal strength while the transmission passed through the walls and other objects, they were able to see what was inside, including a human, Daily Mail reported.
The digital map the robots create shows what they thought they saw in about 100 seconds. The team said they were able to achieve extremely accurate results, only experiencing errors of no more than two inches, and that the technology can be used in any device with Wi-Fi.
"We have furthermore shown how to use this in a robotic setting to give see-through vision to robots," the team wrote on their website.
The technology gives the UCSB robots an edge over many of today's unmanned robots that use laser scanners to see objects in front of them but lack the ability to see through objects or walls in an area, Daily Mail reported. The researchers see the new method as a revolution in robotics - something that can lead to the development of new capabilities for machines.
The team believes the technique has a variety of potential uses, such as finding people in search-and-rescue missions and studying archeological sites without having to do any digging.