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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.