A camera that sees around corners

Images are basic right now, but still. (Picture thanks to BBC.)

It’s super-early days, but the super-clever people at MIT have developed a camera that can see around corners. And when I say super-early days, I really do mean it. At the moment, the prototype camera is the size of a room and relies on a femtosecond laser. It’s not exactly technology that Canon or Nikon will be making available next year!

The camera works by firing a beam from a laser that bounces around the scene, and some of the light particles will eventually make their way back to the camera’s sensor, where they will be pieced back together to make an image. It’s a process that needs to be repeated at least 12 times to form a complete, if at the moment somewhat fuzzy, image. In order to protect the sensor from the ultra-strong intensity of the laser, the shutter won’t open immediately, either.

Images are basic right now, but still. (Picture thanks to BBC.)

Professor Ramesh Raskar is heading the team that has developed the camera. They’re envisaging it being used to assist in search-and-rescue missions, and with robot vision, although they are working towards an endoscope right now. And there’s a way to go yet as the camera still gets confused by complex scenes and only works in the lab. But still. Wow!

(Headsup to the BBC.)