The perfect DIY tool, Walabot uses 3D-imaging to see behind objects, liquids, and most materials

By Heather Hamilton, contributing writer

Walabot

WalabotDIY, a
3D-imaging sensor capable of seeing through objects, liquids, and materials, is
now available in the United Kingdom. According to the press release, it is a product of Vayyar Imaging
and was created for home renovators and other DIY types to see into drywall,
cement, and other construction materials so that they may identify studs,
pipes, wires, and animal nests.

An
article in Entrepreneur that appeared with the first U.S. release says that
Walabot was originally designed as an inexpensive way to track breast cancer. “This device will change a lot,” says Raviv
Melamed, Vayyar’s founder and CEO. “We were going for this one thing and
we realized it could be used for much more. That’s unique for a startup.
Usually, they go in one direction.”

WalabotDIY
works with Android smartphones 5.0 and higher, connecting to the back of the
phone via USB OTG. Then it scans the wall, revealing objects behind it on the
screen of the smartphone. The sensor can help users identify how far to cut or
drill to avoid damaging things like wires and pipes and includes an adjustable
sensitivity setting for specific construction projects. The product takes
advantage of powerful sensors that allow for the expansion of features in the
future. Vayyar has plans to release additional applications via Google Play,
which will seamlessly integrate into the existing tool.

For Makers,
Walabot offers a flexible API, enabling you to create your own applications
that access Walabot as a peripheral. Walabot can receive a variety of processes
and unprocessed images, using the data as needed. Their
website offers a robust maker section, which even gives sample code
for those hoping to develop their own uses.

Walabot
works by sensing the environment and transmitting, receiving, and recording
signals from a variety of antennas. The broadband recordings are then analyzed
to reconstruct a 3D image of the environment. In a thorough tech brief, Walabot details the features. Here
are the highlights:

  • Three-dimensional radio-frequency-based sensor
  • Uses an array of linearly polarized broadband antennas
  • Frequency range: 3.3−10.3 GHz (U.S./FCC model) or
    6.3−8.3 GHz (EU/CE model)
  • Based on VYYR2401 A3 System-on-Chip for signal
    production and recording
  • Cypress FX3 controller for USB communication and data
    pre-processing
  • Micro-USB 2.0 for high-rate data communication; option
    to provide supply from USB
  • Single supply voltage 4.5- to 5.5-V input for non-USB power
    applications

Walabot works with Linux, Windows, and Raspberry Pi, and the SDK provides shared libraries with a defined API. Programming languages are C#, VB, C++, Python, and Matlab.

The creators of Walabot assure that it is built for
makers of all abilities, from beginner to expert. Example applications include
smart home energy and security monitors, sleep analyzer, pitching speedometer,
robotic vision enhancer, and virtual reality movement tracker.

Walabot has the potential to be used across a variety
of industries — monitoring the elderly to respond to falls and remodeling your
kitchen, all with the same device.

The average DIY home renovator can purchase
WalabotDIY, which has all of the features one could want to find studs, pipes,
even rodents. An engineer or maker would be more happy with the WalabotPRO,
which is more expensive, but offers the programmable version of the sensor
technology.

For DIYers and makers, Walabot represents a solution
to a major gap in the industry. Their sales and positive reviews suggest as
much. It will be interesting to see what the future has in store for Walabot
beyond the release of the product in the U.K.

In an address at Mobile World Live in March of this year, Melamed emphasized Walobot’s
commitment to the maker community. “You can unleash a lot of innovation if you
allow people to use your technology, obviously at a reasonable price, and this
is something that we love doing and we’re really happy to see people do that,”
he said. “What we’re trying to do, basically, is uncover the hidden world
around you.”

Sources: Walabot Dropbox, Entrepreneur, Walabot.com,  Walabot Tech Brief, Mobile World Live

Image Source: Walabot.com