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A detection algorithm for spatially multiplexed multiple input multiple output (MIMO) systems is proposed. The receiver first estimates the MIMO channel and rearranges the layers according to the measured SNRs. To determine the candidate vectors, an orthogonal projection combined with the M-algorithm is used. Without performing the exhaustive full search of the maximum likelihood (ML) method, the proposed algorithm can reach the performance which is closely akin to the ML method. The computational complexity markedly decreases: 0.66% over the ML method in terms of the number of real multiplications.