Linksys Velop Routers Will Soon Watch You Breathe

A Linksys Velop router on a cabinet next to a couch.
Linksys

CES 2020 is underway, and you can expect to see plenty of mesh and Wi-Fi 6 router announcements. But Linksys, no stranger to routers, is touting a different set of features entirely for its hardware. Linksys Velop routers can already detect movement in your home. But now the company is improving the technology, with more distinct detections, including your breathing and noticing if you fall.

Linksys Aware Detects Your Movement

A mockup of a house covered in Wi-Fi signals.
Linksys

If you aren’t aware, Linksys recently debuted a motion tracking service for its Velop tri-band AC2200 routers called Linksys Aware. This optional paid service uses the radio signals created by your routers to detect movement. If you remember any of the many spy movies that featured laser grids to protect a shiny MacGuffin, the idea is the same—only without the bright red beams everywhere.

As you move around your home, your body naturally interferes with the radio signals generated by your network technology. Linksys uses AI algorithms to keep an eye on your network signals and notice when there’s an interruption likely caused by a human or animal passing through them.

Right now, it’s not very detailed, though. If you subscribe to the Linksys Aware service ($3 a month, or $25 a year), it can only tell you that motion was detected somewhere on your network. It can’t give you an exact location, or even what set off the notification (human, animal, or otherwise). The best you can do is adjust the sensitivity so your pets are less likely to trigger an alert. Linksys is looking to change that.

Expanded Monitoring For Breathing and Falls

A mock-up of a man walking through radio signals.

Currently, Linksys Aware only takes advantage of the signals generated by Linksys Velop router hardware. The company wants to expand on that by looping in other IOT hardware on your network. Think of it as adding more lasers to the grid. Additionally, the company plans to release Wellness Pods sometime in 2020.

The Wellness Pods will increase the company’s ability to measure your network without slowing it down—according to Linksys instead of the mere 30 measurements per second it takes now; it’ll manage 1,500. With all that information, not only will Linksys know exactly where movement occurs in the home, it’ll even measure much more subtle motions—like breathing.

The company can take advantage of that level of detail to measure sleep and even detect falls. The idea here is to assist the elderly or anyone else who may need monitoring. If you have a loved one who is prone to falling, or suffers from sleep apnea, but you can’t be there all the time (or they live far away), you could get notifications when something happens. The system could go a step further and alert medical services automatically as well.

Linksys is fully aware of the privacy implications involved, though, which is part of why this remains an optional service. Additionally, Linksys left the cloud out of the process. All the data and alerts are handled locally by your hardware.

But if the company can pull the promise off, you could potentially see medical monitoring without the need to wear devices—a problematic system reliant on remembering to recharge and put on the device.

Source: The Verge

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smarthome enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »

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