Scientists have developed a powerful 3D camera capable of penetrating and seeing almost anything, including corners, fog and even human flesh.
The device, created by researchers at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, uses a technique called “holographic structure wavelength”.
It works by indirectly scattering light onto hidden objects, which is transmitted back and transmitted back to the camera, where artificial intelligence is used to reconstruct the original object.
The team says the camera is a decade away from being commercially available, but when the technology comes it could be used in cars, surveillance cameras and even as medical scanners.
An example may replace the use of an endoscope in colonoscopy, and instead collect light waves to view the folds within the intestine.
This is a relatively new area of research, known as non-line-of-sight (NLOS) imaging, and the technique can quickly capture full-field images of large areas. And it does so with sub-millimetre accuracy, a level of accuracy an AI-powered camera can use to see through the skin, seeing even the tiniest capillaries working .
As the light is scattered over the hidden objects and scattered back to the camera, the algorithm reconstructs the scattered light signal.
Due to its high accuracy, this method also has the ability to photograph fast-moving objects, such as a beating heart or cars speeding around a street corner.
Although this method has clear potential for medical imaging, it has a wide range of applications.
This includes installing navigation systems for early vehicle warning and industrial inspections in tightly confined spaces.
However, the researchers believe the potential applications are endless.
“Our technology will usher in a new wave of imaging capabilities,” said study first author Florian Willemitzer.
Current sensor models use visible or infrared light, but the principle is universal and can be extended to other wavelengths.
The goal of the project was to intercept the scattered light to reconstruct the information contained in the light.
The new technology overcomes the problems and can shoot around corners and through other forms of media – such as leather and metal – with higher resolution.
Since light only travels on straight paths, there should be an opaque obstruction, such as a wall, bush, or car, so that the new device can be seen around corners.
Light from the sensor bounces off the barrier and hits the object in the corner. The light then bounces back to the diaphragm and eventually back to the sensor unit detector.
It should be noted that this is currently a prototype and it takes up to ten years to be a commercial product, partly due to the time taken to obtain medical approval.
The study was published November 17 in the journal. nature communication,
Source: Daily Mail