Pretty cool technology. I could see something like this coming into play for first responders to disasters like the Chilean mine incident or even for fire fighters. I'm admittedly not that up to date on vision systems, but I am surprised that there isn't more technology out like this already.
This reminds me of the Lytro light-field camera. A clever detector arrangement collects lots of data and through the majic of software and image can be reconstructed that would not have been possible before.
New technology solves old problem with better resolution! Seeing beyond the electromagnetic horizon. Reminds me of over the horizon Radar popular during the Cold War era. Different wavelengths of electromagnetic spectrum but somewhat similar idea. Reflect off of the ionisphere and listen for back scatter to provide a target echo.
Yes, this reminded me of the Lytro camera as well. The Lytro camera allows setting of the range of focus with the picture data, through software, after the picture is taken. This concept allows reconstruction of laser topology reflected back into the scene. Also reminds me of the laser-based window listening devices, what will they think of next?
Another compelling example of physics and discovery coming out of the Media lab at MIT.As "apresher" mused about commercial viability, I'm not so sure this is a niche market, but I definitely agree that this technology is in its infancy and has great potential to grow into something fantastic.
For a period of time about 10 years ago, I had the exciting responsibility to visit and watch media lab presentations, then take ideas like this one back into Advance Development for product design at Motorola. I was tasked with conceiving viable applications for emerging technologies to be characterized into everyday devices that eventually flooded markets and became household familiarities. While that may sound like wishful thinking, I can truthfully report that some of the "New Ideas" that came from the Media Lab during that period 2001-2004 were E-Ink, Vision tracking, vehicle distance sensing, and audio beams; all of which have today landed into huge commercial applications and become parts of multi-million dollar industries.
So, while the photon-bounce assembled image of today's technology capability might seem like a blurry-blob only roughly recognizable,the breakthrough of re-assembling photon bounces into quazi recognizable image has been accomplished.Amazing! To me, this sounds like the pre-cursor to the Enterprise's 4-pad Transporter.Beam me up, Scotty!
I think there are several possible markets for this technology, and I'm not at all sure that they will all be niche markets, although no doubt some will be. Thanks, Jim, for your input, experience and enthusiasm. I didn't quite envision the Star Trek transponder when reading about this, but the possibilities for military/first responder and industrial/commercial applications seem pretty interesting and achievable.
Very interesting. If the "camera" measures time of flight of the photons, perhaps it relies on only one sensitive photodetector rather than an imaging array. Photodiodes can offer femtosecond response.
Laser scanning is used everywhere to define the real-world and convert it to 3D point cloud data that can be used in plant design, architectural remodeling, accident reconstruction, crime scene reconstruction, etc.
The way the technology works today, you have to set up the tripod in a few different places with targets that can be matched by the software to get a complete picture of the area. It works pretty good, but consider one setup, one scan and you're done. Amazing.
Do I understand correctly? The laser emits a light beam which scatters, then the camera 'averages' the returned photons to memorize what is there. When something new is added, the returning photons take a different time of flight and thus the shape and position of the 'new' thing is derived and displayed. Depending on the acquisition speed of the camera/computer, this would have a great usefullness in any number of internal/external building security, military field surveylance, etc.. A really neat concept.
bob from maine, the article gives links to two videos worth watching, one short and one more detailed, on how this technology works. Military surveillance and security are definitely some apps this could be used in, and probably lots more we haven't thought of yet that this will make possible.
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