When asked what superpowers they would like to have, many say the ability to see things. Now there may be a camera that can give people this gift.
Developed by Northwestern Engineering researchers, a new high resolution camera can see around the corners and through human skin and even bones. It also has the potential to depict fast-moving objects, such as accelerating cars or even a beating heart.
The relatively new research area is called Non-Visible Line (NLoS) imaging and comes with such a high level of resolution that it can capture even the smallest capillaries in operation.
“Our technology will introduce a new wave of imaging capabilities,” said Florian Willomitzer of the McCormick School of Engineering, the study’s first author.
“Our current sensor prototypes use visible or infrared light, but the principle is universal and can be extended to other wavelengths. For example, the same method can be applied to radio waves for space exploration or underwater acoustic imaging. It can be applied to many areas, and we just scratched the surface. “
The new technology can be used in applications ranging from non-invasive medical imaging, vehicle early warning navigation systems and industrial inspection in confined spaces. But how does it work?
It essentially captures the scattered light coming from an object in order to reconstruct the inherent information about the time of its journey in order to reveal the original object. Scientists compare it to the glow of a flashlight through your hand.
In this case, you should see the bone in your hand, but the light passing through it scatters the image of the bone, leading to a large dot. NLoS can capture this scattered light and reconstruct it into a coherent image.
This same technique can be applied to targets other than seeing around the corner and imaging an organ inside the human body through all tissues and bones, making it a powerful universal camera.