Step right up

Published April 30, 2020

Cory Doctorow pre­dict­ed this in his nov­el Little Brother, and now Carnegie Mellon researchers are work­ing to make it real: Being able to iden­ti­fy peo­ple by how they walk.

Each person’s walk­ing gait is unique—and they can serve not only as iden­ti­fiers but also as indi­ca­tors of mood and health. A team of researchers has now devel­oped remote sen­sors that ana­lyze foot­steps by mea­sur­ing minute floor vibra­tions. They have used those vibra­tions to iden­ti­fy spe­cif­ic indi­vid­u­als walk­ing through a building.

Sure, it could be used by gov­ern­ments and cor­po­ra­tions to track some­one’s every move, but “the researchers only sug­gest their tech­nol­o­gy should be used for con­sen­su­al health care applications.”

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