Magic Camera

Recording Photos of Unseen Corners

Magic Camera - Recording Photos of Unseen Corners

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology team has created a camera that can record images around corners. By collecting light from ultra-short high-intensity laser bursts, the device is able to illuminate a scene and construct a basic image of its surroundings, including those around a corner. Professor Ramesh Raskar, head of the Camera Culture group at the MIT Media Lab, and part of the new camera research team explains, “It’s like having x-ray vision without the x-rays…we’re going around the problem rather than going through it.” Presently, the camera is a room-sized femtosecond laser, a light source that can fire bursts of laser light at one quadrillionth of a second. After the light particles reflect off all surfaces, including whatever is around the corner, and bounce around the scene, they are reflected back to the camera’s sensor, which measures the arrival time of the particles at each pixel. Similar technology has been used in military applications and Google’s Street View to create 3D models of buildings. The current model of the camera only works in laboratory conditions, and gets confused by complex scenes, but has a lot of promise. The team’s aim right now is to create an advanced endoscope, but ultimately they hope to construct something portable that could be used in search and rescue missions, or robot vision.

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