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Science Technology

Laser Camera Can See Around Corners 97

Hugh Pickens writes "Researchers at MIT have developed a laser camera that can 'see' around corners and take pictures of a scene not in its direct line of sight. The camera system fires extremely short bursts of light that can reflect off one object, such as the open door of a room, and then off a second object inside the room before reflecting back to the first object and being captured by the camera, after which algorithms can use the information to reconstruct the hidden scene exploiting the fact that it is possible to capture light at extremely short time scales, about one quadrillionth of a second. By continuously gathering light and computing the time and distance that each pixel has traveled, the camera creates a '3D time-image' of the scene it can't directly see. 'It's like having X-ray vision without the X-rays,' says Professor Ramesh Raskar. 'We're going around the problem rather than going through it.'"
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Laser Camera Can See Around Corners

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  • Hmmmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tygerstripes (832644) on Friday November 19, 2010 @08:07AM (#34280194)

    The process has to be incredibly time-sensitive in order to work, and the imaging process has to subtract ambient light in order to obtain the reflected-laser data. This ambient-light recording has to happen at a different time to when the laser is fired, so variable-light conditions or the lack of an incredibly steady camera, image object and reflective surface will make it basically impossible to render the image.

    I absolutely love the concept. I just think that the nay-sayers whom Professor Raskar claims to be defeating were correct. It might not be theoretically impossible, but the practical limitations are so severe that I don't envisage them being "engineered" away - and if they are, such phenomenal engineering accomplishments would make this application appear trivial in comparison with the other things we could do.

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