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Future Proof Ideas since 2005, by Erwin van Lun

New Camera Makes the Invisible Visible

Back Filming Camera Found on 'The Futurist': We can’t see something behind a wall unless there is a mirror nearby that can capture the object’s reflection. But a new camera developed by researchers from the universities of British Columbia and Bonn has no such limitations. The camera reconstructs scattered rays of light to accurately depict images of objects that are completely outside its immediate field of view.

The camera measures incoming light rays and records not only the direction that each one comes from, but also how long it took the light to travel from its source to the camera. From these time-of-flight measurements, it is able to fully reconstruct an image of the object.

Computer science professor Matthias Hullin of the Institute of Computer Science II, University of Bonn, poses with camera that can peer around corners. Credit: Matthias Hullin
“In principle, we are measuring nothing other than the sum of numerous light reflections which reached the camera through many different paths and which are superimposed on each other on the image sensor,” says Mattias Hullin, University of Bonn computer-science professor and one of the camera’s engineers.

In a recent demo, the researchers positioned the camera on one side of a partition. On the other side, completely concealed from the camera, were a canvas and a laser beam shining onto the canvas’s center. The camera portrayed the canvas and laser beam on its video screen.

Currently, the camera’s image reconstructions are very low-resolution, but Hullin hopes that higher precision will be achievable as the technical components and mathematical models improve. The camera could have many applications in telecommunications, remote sensing, and medical imaging, he adds. —Rick Docksai

Future Vision by Erwin Van Lun on this article

In the new world we’re currently building not only the rules of the ‘current - casting- media’ will be cracked, also the laws of human nature, not allowing us to view behind walls.

What would it mean when these kind of camera are operational in security? You can’t hide anymore! And robots will make decisions on what they see.

We will have to get used we can’t hide anything anymore, everything will be seen, and privacy is a concept of the past. This might sound awkard, but we won;t care. At all. We simply won’t have anything to hide left in the peaceful world of pamper planet.

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