Saturday, 24 March 2012

MIT's camera can see around corners.

Imagine a house on fire, and a camera helping the rescue team to locate exactly where the person is trapped in a room from a distance far enough. Researchers at MIT have been thinking on similar lines; they have been using the innovative femtophotography poses. So, basically, this technology sends quick laser pulses, which bounce back showing the hidden scene or say giving you a glimpse of what you otherwise wouldn’t be able to see directly, owing to the situation. The imaging device is developed by the MIT Media Lab’s Camera Culture group along with Bawendi Lab in the Department of Chemistry at MIT.

The incredibly quick laser pulses are measured in quadrillionths of a second. The bursts of light bounce around off ordinary doors or walls or floors and reflect back in the same way to the picosecond-accurate detector at the camera (picoseconds = trillionths of a second), which then records the elapsed time and does all the math to calculate the light bursts traveled. The light burst travel in different routes, while the system runs this drill multiple times in just a second or so, to offer a complete 3D image. Reportedly, this photography technology is all about algorithms and has been happening on a small scale currently.

Reportedly, the 3D images aren’t portrait quality, but good enough and recognizable in some situations, like helping someone who is navigating in dangerous environment, avoiding collision of cars and so on. Going way past the traditional photography technology, the new femtophotography could work wonders, if the imaging device hits markets. We can foresee several buyers to queueing to own the device. MIT researchers will be revealing all about this new innovative technology of locating hidden objects in the journal Nature Communications. In 2010, researchers at MIT had put forth another interesting technology called NETRA which allowed testing eye sight using mobile phones.

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