What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

"T-Ray" Vision Made Portable

December 13, 2012, 12:15 PM

What’s the Latest Development?

CalTech engineers Ali Hajimiri and Kaushik Sengupta have created a microchip that can broadcast and receive terahertz radiation. These frequencies, which falls between X-rays and high-frequency radio on the wave spectrum, can see through solids, just like X-rays. Unlike X-rays, they can also see through water and other less dense materials, and can even determine whether an embedded object is made of plastic or metal. The microchip works through the use of several transistors operating at the same time and in a synchronized manner, allowing reinforcement of some frequencies and cancellation of others.

What’s the Big Idea?

Machines that incorporate “T-ray” technology are increasingly being found in security and law enforcement. They tend to be large and expensive, and even portable versions are about the size of a television camera. Putting the technology on a microchip enables the creation of handheld devices, including smartphones, that can scan objects faster and more easily. The chip can also be used in data transmission: Because its frequency is higher than that of wi-fi, more information can be sent at once, which could allow for quicker downloads. 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com



"T-Ray" Vision Made Portable

Newsletter: Share: