Origin Wireless Promo Web 600ee7a0b8965

Inspect Any Room in Your Home with Wi-Fi

Jan. 25, 2021
Origin Wireless uses a DSP to analyze Wi-Fi feedback to see whether someone is in a room.

This article appeared in Electronic Design and has been published here with permission.

What you’ll learn:

  • What is Origin Wireless’ Hex?
  • How can Wi-Fi be used to detect movement?

Origin Wireless takes a unique approach to home security. Instead of using cameras or motion sensors, the company employs Wi-Fi in its Home Security System (Fig. 1). The control device uses Wi-Fi to communicate with your network, but it also uses the technology to sense movement within an area such as rooms in a house. How so?

Well, the latest Wi-Fi 5 and 6 implementations employ multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) antennas. A base station sends out multiple signals and the other end uses that combination to provide higher bandwidth and more reliable communications since alternate paths exist between the devices. Typically, the devices use this for sending and receiving data; they’re not concerned with the quality of the signals other than being sufficient for reliable communication.

The thing is, there’s variation in the signals that are affected by the position and construction of the objects in the environment from walls to people. Move an object and this will slightly affect multiple Wi-Fi signals. The trick is to detect the changes that require a similar but different set of sensors. A rough comparison would be an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) versus a digital circuit that’s based on fixed thresholds.

The other half of the challenge is analyzing the details. Here a digital signal processor (DSP) comes to the rescue. Some machine learning even might be mixed in there. The system considers all signal changes it receives. Even slight movements will affect some of the signals, which the system is able to detect. There are 10 adjustable sensitivity levels in terms of system response to movements.

The system consists of a command hub and multiple Hex Sense sensor units. The command hub is a standard Wi-Fi device that links to your local Wi-Fi network to communicate with the cloud. Of course, this is an Internet of Things (IoT) device. The Hex Home smartphone app provides feedback and security alerts (Fig. 2).

The sensor units plug directly into a wall socket while the command hub has an external power supply. The sensor units receive Wi-Fi signals from the command hub but communicate with it using a separate 2.4-GHz ISM channel. The DSP that handles the signal analysis is in each sensor. Essentially, the sensors track the standard Wi-Fi signals from the command hub and send the results back to the hub.

The system detects movement to determine if something is present in an area. It doesn’t detect an absolute position or distance from a point like radar or optical systems. The advantage is the ability to cover a large area with just a few sensors.

It’s possible to use the app to see the system in action while people are moving around. If everyone freezes, then the detected movement stops but a slight movement will still be detected.

The system also has 80-dB sirens. As with most home security systems, it can be set up to track, notify, or sound an alarm upon detection of unwanted motion. The system can’t be adjusted for height like some other sensor systems, but it’s possible to adjust sensitivity. The system also can selectively manage areas.

The system is trackable via the app. An optional professional monitoring service is in the works that’s similar to conventional security companies and sensing systems. The system can be tied to other devices, such as recording via a camera when movement is detected.

A 1,500-ft.2 area can be covered by one command hub and a pair of sensors. The system starts at $179 with additional Hex Sense sensors for $39. The Hex Sense devices also have LEDs for optional pathway lighting. Normally a system will cover a single floor, although overall coverage will be based on the structure and construction of the environment. A Faraday cage may cause problems, but general construction isn’t usually an issue with the system. If Wi-Fi works in the environment, then this system should have no trouble.

About the Author

William G. Wong | Senior Content Director

I am Editor of Electronic Design focusing on embedded, software, and systems. As Senior Content Director, I also manage Microwaves & RF and I work with a great team of editors to provide engineers, programmers, developers and technical managers with interesting and useful articles and videos on a regular basis. Check out our free newsletters to see the latest content.>

You can send press releases for new products for possible coverage on the website. I am also interested in receiving contributed articles for publishing on our website. Use our template and send to me along with a signed release form. 

Check out my blog, AltEmbedded on Electronic Design, as well as his latest articles on this site that are listed below. 

You can my social media via these links:

I earned a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Masters in Computer Science from Rutgers University. I still do a bit of programming using everything from C and C++ to Rust and Ada/SPARK. I do a bit of PHP programming for Drupal websites. I have posted a few Drupal modules.  

I still get a hand on software and electronic hardware. Some of this can be found on our Kit Close-Up video series. You can also see me on many of our TechXchange Talk videos. I am interested in a range of projects from robotics to artificial intelligence. 

Sponsored Recommendations

Ultra-Low Phase Noise MMIC Amplifier, 6 to 18 GHz

July 12, 2024
Mini-Circuits’ LVA-6183PN+ is a wideband, ultra-low phase noise MMIC amplifier perfect for use with low noise signal sources and in sensitive transceiver chains. This model operates...

Turnkey 1 kW Energy Source & HPA

July 12, 2024
Mini-Circuits’ RFS-2G42G51K0+ is a versatile, new generation amplifier with an integrated signal source, usable in a wide range of industrial, scientific, and medical applications...

SMT Passives to 250W

July 12, 2024
Mini-Circuits’ surface-mount stripline couplers and 90° hybrids cover an operational frequency range of DC to 14.5 GHz. Coupler models feature greater than 2 decades of bandwidth...

Transformers in High-Power SiC FET Applications

June 28, 2024
Discover SiC FETs and the Role of Transformers in High-Voltage Applications