Peeking around a corner is a practice we have seen in many spy and action movies. The main or side characters often use mirrors to do so, or other on the spot inventions. However, researchers from the University of Bonn in Germany and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver have teamed up and created something different.
They made a camera system that is able to “see” around corners by recreating the shapes of the objects. In order to do so, the system uses diffusely scattered laser light. The device points a laser onto a wall. Afterwards the camera films the direction of the light and the time it takes until it reaches the camera from the source. When the image is processed, the outline of the object the camera is trying to see becomes clear.
“Part of the light has also come into contact with the unknown object and it thus brings valuable information with it about its shape and appearance,” explained Professor Matthias B. Hullin of the University of Bonn.
The laser point is more than a single point of light. It is a source of scattered light which bounces on the object and off it. As the light bounces, it creates “echoes” that eventually transmit information about the object. These echoes can be recorded.
The team of researchers also applied a mathematical model that cancels any extraneous information. At the moment, the system is able to conjure a rough outline of the object. However, in time, the camera system could allow the creation of a more detailed image. This system could do more than simply help people see around corners. Though we might not see it in a James Bond movie, in time it could also have applications in medical imaging, remote sensing and telecommunications.
What do you think of this new camera system?