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Researchers at UC Santa Barbara unveil x-ray drones

Researchers at UC Santa Barbara were able to create three-dimensional images of the objects behind a brick wall. The project results was unveiled in April and a video demonstration was released this month.

Professor Yasamin Mostofi of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering was the advisor for this research project called X-Ray Eyes in the Sky. She worked with Chitra Karanam, a Ph.D student.

“There are a lot of applications that would want this. Seeing through walls with an unmanned vehicle would help structural health monitoring or even emergency response,” said Chitra Karanam.

The process includes two drones that fly in tandem in different angles around a four-sided brick building, built by the researchers, themselves. One drone transmits a continuous Wi-Fi signal while the other one flies on the opposite side of the house.

“In search and rescue, sending unmanned vehicles to areas that are difficult for us to go through and giving them the capability of accessing the situation before entering the areas, can be very valuable,” said Mostofi.

After the drones fly several times, they can generate 3D images of what’s inside the brick building.

Professor Mostofi wrote the proposal to get funding in 2016. The National Science foundation gave a $300,000 grant for the project.

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