MIT Camera Can See Around Corners with Frickin’ Lasers
March 21st, 2012
If you take anything and tell me it uses laser beams, you have my attention. MIT has a very cool new camera that they’ve been working on it uses lasers to allow it to take photos of what’s going on around the corner. It’s an impressive technology, and the way the camera is able to do this is by using extremely fast laser pulses bounced off of its subject.
MIT announced back in 2010 that it was developing the special camera that would use light echoes to see around corners. It took two years and the researchers are now showing off the camera in action. The camera fires 50 individual femtosecond laser pulses in a burst at 60 different times at various spots on a wall. The imaging sensor then picks up the light assets reflected back to the camera and uses complicated algorithms to piece together an image of what’s going on around the corner.
It’s easy to see practical military and police applications for such a camera. However, it currently takes several minutes for the image sensor to piece the image together, and the image isn’t exactly accurate as of yet. The MIT researchers hope to cut that to 10 seconds to make it usable in the real world. Ten seconds is still a long time and things around the corner can change significantly and 10 seconds making me think that the camera needs to get down into the one to second range for most practical applications.