Ramesh Raskar: An Immigrant's Story
Initially inspired by the special effects of Jurassic Park, Ramesh Raskar has invented revolutionary electronic devices and now aims to create entirely new disciplines of research.
What's the Latest Development?
Born to a family of farmers in India, Ramesh Raskar was first inspired to pursue computer graphics after seeing the special effects of Jurassic Park. His story is not an unfamiliar one for a first generation immigrant: "Nobody on my father's or mother's side of the family has even a high school education. But my father, being an electronics engineer, made sure all his children focused on education rather than farming." Since getting his Ph.D. in North Carolina, he has worked at the M.I.T. media lab creating revolutionary new electronic devices.
What's the Big Idea?
Among the devices he has invented is a four-flash camera that enables the kind of sketching familiar to most from the 1985 music video for the hit pop song "Take on Me" by the Norwegian band A-Ha. Currently he is working on a camera that can see around corners: "It bounces ultrashort bursts of laser light off a rigid surface—the wall opposite an open door, for instance—at several different angles and measures the time it takes the light to return to the camera." In order for the camera to measure the flight time of light particles, it must take a trillion exposures a second.
The new version's battery has a shorter range and a price $4,000 lower than the previous starting price.
- Tesla's new version of the Model 3 costs $45,000 and can travel 280 miles on one charge.
- The Model 3 is the best-selling luxury car in the U.S.
- Tesla still has yet to introduce a fully self-driving car, even though it once offered the capability as an option to be installed at a future date.
Want a happy, satisfying relationship? Psychologists say the best way is to learn to take a joke.
- New research looks at how partners' attitudes toward humor affects the overall quality of a relationship.
- Out of the three basic types of people, people who love to be laughed at made for better partners.
- Fine-tuning your sense of humor might be the secret to a healthy, happy, and committed relationship.
A measles comeback is not the sort of return our children deserve.
- The percentage of children under 2 years old who haven't received any vaccinations has quadrupled in the last 17 years.
- In 2016 in Europe there were 5,273 cases of measles. One year later that jumped to 21,315 cases.
- Discredited doctor Andrew Wakefield's false study linking vaccines and autism still influences parents, two decades later.
A new study delivers the dark financial reality of cancer.
- 62 percent of cancer patients report being in debt due to their treatment.
- 55 percent accrue at least $10,000 in debt, while 3 percent file for bankruptcy.
- Cancer costs exceed $80 billion in America each year.
It's hard to imagine such a number. But these images will help you try.
The Mega Millions lottery just passed $1 billion for tonight's drawing.
What does that even look like, when represented by various currencies?
It takes just 6 numbers to win. You can only, however, purchase tickets up until 10:45 ET tonight.
Are we sure this isn't alien technology?
- A Larry Page-backed company has announced that its flying car will go on sale in 2019.
- It's called the BlackFly.
- Not quite the escape from traffic you had in mind, but it's a jaw-dropping start.
A new report warns about the increasing likelihood of international conflicts over water.
- A study finds that serious conflicts over water are going to arise around the globe.
- The 5 hotspots identified by the paper include areas of the Nile, Ganges-Brahmaputra, Indus, Tigris-Euphrates, and Colorado rivers.
- It's still possible to change course if we are prepared to address the effects of climate change.
Follow your nose all the way home.
- It has to do with two parts of the brain, both of which are thicker in those with better smell and spacial recognition.
- Your nose can detect about 1 trillion smells.
- While your nose isn't a full GPS, it can help you pick out a general direction.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.