A new camera has the ability to see objects out of sight, whether they lie around a corner or inside of something. Developed by scientists at MIT, the technology uses light waves that bounce off of walls near the hidden object to build an image of it.
A similar concept allows us to see our reflection in mirrors. But as the Guardian’s Ian Sample explains, most surfaces can’t scatter light in the same way. Thus, the camera functions by firing ultrafast laser pulses at a wall. The light then hits the hidden object, and is subsequently reflected back at the camera, which collects data and then re-fires at a different spot on the wall. Eventually, algorithms interpret the angle of light and time it takes to reflect back in order to build an image.
The technology is still in its early stages, but according to lead researcher Ramesh Raskar, a future version of the camera could be used by emergency responders trying to assess whether a situation is safe, vehicle navigation systems to illuminate blind spots, or with medical devices to capture images of “previously obscure regions of the human body.”
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