Signs of life detection using wireless passive radar

Qingchao Chen, Kevin Chetty, Karl Woodbridge, Bo Tan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Non-contact devices for monitoring signs of life have attracted a lot of attention in recent years for applications in security, emergency and disaster situations. Current devices however, generally utilize bespoke active systems to transmit large bandwidth signals. In this paper, a real-Time phase extraction method based on passive Wi-Fi radar is proposed for detecting the chest movements associated with a person breathing. Since the monitored movements are of low amplitude and small Doppler shift, this method uses the phase variation rather than traditional range-Doppler processing. The processing is based on time domain cross correlation, with the addition of a Hampel filter for outlier detection and removal. In this paper the basic passive Wi-Fi model and limitations of traditional cross ambiguity function for signs of life detection are first introduced. The phase extraction method is then described followed by experimental results and analysis. Detection of breathing for a stationary person is shown in both in-room and through wall scenarios using both the Wi-Fi beacon and data transmissions. This is believed to be the first demonstration of signs of life detection using phase extraction in passive radar and extends the capability of such systems into a wide range of new applications.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2016 IEEE Radar Conference, RadarConf 2016
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5090-0863-6
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event2016 IEEE Radar Conference, RadarConf 2016 - Philadelphia, United States
Duration: 2 May 20166 May 2016


Conference2016 IEEE Radar Conference, RadarConf 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Beacon Signal Detection
  • Breathing Detection
  • Passive Wi-Fi Radar
  • Phase Extraction
  • Real Time
  • Through-Wall

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Instrumentation


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    Woznowski, P., Burrows, A., Diethe, T., Fafoutis, X., Hall, J., Hannuna, S., Camplani, M., Twomey, N., Kozlowski, M., Tan, B., Zhu, N., Elsts, A., Vafeas, A., Paiement, A., Tao, L., Mirmehdi, M., Burdhardt, T., Damen, D., Flach, P., Piechocki, R., & 2 othersCraddock, I. & Oikonomou, G., 6 Dec 2016, Designing, Developing, and Facilitating Smart Cities: Urban Design to IoT Solutions. Angelakis, V., Tragos, E., Pöhls, H. C., Kapovits, A. & Bassi, A. (eds.). Switzerland: Springer, p. 315-333 19 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    58 Citations (Scopus)

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