Vital Sign Estimation through walls

Other Parts Discussed in Thread: IWR6843ISK, IWR6843

Hello, I work with a team in Berlin that deploys robots to nursing homes to support staff at nighttime. We would like to evaluate the use of radar in sensing residents' breathing rate through walls. We were inspired by Dina Katabi's work (e.g. Vital-radio, RF-capture, RF-Avatar, etc) where they were able to estimate human poses as well as heart rate + breathing through walls. We're experimenting with similar FMCW approaches with Software-defined radios (SDRs) but might want to swap to CW/UWB/SFCW or WiFi due to there not being any off-the-shelf sub-10GHz FMCW radar hardware out there. We were exploring if TI's radars could be of use to us but the 77GHz and 60GHz variants have too high a frequency for good penetration through walls, we have found out many times that sub-10GHz or even sub-3GHz is needed for the best penetration through walls. We would like to do this for up to 8m behind the wall. These are our requirements. 

I was talking to a friend who works in telecoms and he mentioned that TI would be able to "give you a work around to generate a sub-10GHz Frequency on top of one of their development boards (extension [external clock ..etc])". It would be great if this is possible, I'm happy to discuss more about this and answer questions. 

  • Hello

    TI's has mmWave based device, evaluation  hardware and example software for you to get started with this.

    Please see the following demonstration:

    Sensor is able to see through different kinds of non-metallic objects :

    For Hardware :

    IWR68433 device works in ISM band

    IWR6843ISK for Evaluation


    Industrial Tool Box:

    Relevant Lab/Demos:   People counting, Vital signs underneath the above link

    Hope this helps you get started.

    Thank you,


  • Hi Vaibhav,

    Sorry for the delay. Thanks for your reply and all the information + links. I have studied them deeply. We received demand from our current customer base of breathing detection through doors. For this reason, we are organising several pilot projects together with Charite Universitatsmedizin Berlin and end user partners from the cluster "Zukunft der Pflege" to validate its feasibility. TI does lots of vital sign estimation and through thin obstructions but not both combined (our use case). I understand there are two main things in physics that affect wall penetration of waves:

    1. transmission power
    2. frequency (the higher the worse penetration)

    I know the most common and lowest frequency radar TI sells is the IWR6843 at 60GHz. But are there any solutions to bring this below 10GHz for the best wall penetration? Downconversion? Another chirp generator chip that can work in lower range? I think there must be some hardware solution out there. I'm happy to discuss this further and feel free to ask clarifying questions. 

    Best Regards,

  • Hello

    We have tried these demo's through dry walls and they work with little to no modification. Please note the lab/demos provided by TI are examples to show the technology and what is possible with on-device sensing and processing. User's can take our baseline code and further customize and enhance it to suit their application needs, as such adapting the processing and sensing for obstacle/interference based scenarios is what the application customization would entail.

    Our current portfolio of devices are based on 77Ghz and the 60Ghz range for FMCW based Radar sensors. TI may have other devices which are directed for other applications and utilize different bands but those won't be FMCW radar based devices.

    60Ghz range is suited for the ISM band where applications like Vital signs are allowed by most of the regulations. Please check area/region specific regulation to determine the allowed EM frequency spectrum.

    Hope this help you with the immediate questions you had, our code base is open and we welcome you to start evaluation and development using the provided information.

    Thank you,