By Nick Heath | April 20, 2016, 6:07 AM PST
How the $149 Walabot is already sparking the interest of developers, who plan to use it for everything from collision detection in cars to honing their martial arts skills.
The Walabot Pro.
Fancy looking through walls using your phone? Well soon it will be possible using a handheld radar.
The Walabot is a radar unit that attaches to smartphones and can be used to scan the world around you.
While radar-imaging technology typically costs at least thousands of dollars, the cheapest Walabot will cost $149, thanks to Vayyar Imaging shrinking the necessary technology down to a phone-sized system on a chip.
As proof of what the Walabot can do, the Pro version of the device will come with an Android app that can peer through walls — allowing the user to find pipes and wires, for instance.
"Since Walabot can sense minute changes and very small movement, you'll be able to see when pipes are dripping and other problems," said Raviv Melamed, CEO and co-founder of Vayyar Imaging.
The device can see through about 7cm to 10cm of concrete, enough to allow it to look through a typical wall and can penetrate more deeply through less-dense obstacles, such as drywall. Melamed says Walabot can see almost any material other than metal, which Melamed describes as the Walabot's kryptonite.
An Android app uses the Walabot's radar to see pipes through a section of wall.
Image: Nick Heath / TechRepublic But the uses of the technology go far beyond locating a leaking pipe, Melamed foresees a host of applications being developed for the device after it launches at the end of April. These apps will not only take advantage of Walabot's ability to "see" through solid objects, but to track people and objects in 3D space.
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