New Camera Sees Around Corners

A new high-tech camera uses bursts of laser light to know, and then create 3D images of, objects that are outside the line of sight of normal cameras. A host of practical applications await. 

What's the Latest Development?

A new camera has been engineered that creates 3D images of objects hidden around corners, or other places outside of the line of sight of any normal camera. The technology works by using a femtosecond laser, "which emits bursts of light so short that their duration is measured in quadrillionths of a second." To see around a corner, for example, the camera would fire laser pulses off an opposite surface not normally considered reflective, such as a door or a wall. By bouncing lasers off the surface at different angels and measuring the pulses with a detector, researchers can reconstruct the geometry of a hidden object. 

What's the Big Idea?

The idea behind the technology is similar to a submarine's periscope, except that it uses laser light instead of an angled mirror to learn about objects otherwise impossible to see. Researchers say the technology could be used by emergency responders, such as firefighters or police, to know if a particular room is safe to enter, or by vehicle navigation systems which could use the camera to see around blind corners. "It could also be used with endoscopic medical devices, to produce images of previously obscure regions of the human body."

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