They Create A Holographic Camera That Sees The Invisible

Scientists and technicians from Northwestern University, in the United States, have created a camera that is capable of seeing what is invisible or goes unnoticed by human vision. 

It can penetrate fog, skin, and even parts of the human body, such as the skull. Called synthetic wavelength holography, the new method works by indirectly scattering light onto hidden objects, which is then scattered again and travels back to a camera.

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Subsequently, an algorithm comes into action that is destined to reconstruct the scattered light signals, thus managing to reveal the objects that are hidden. In other words, the system can "extract" light information not visible in the first instance and make it visible, thanks to the integration between holographic technology and Artificial Intelligence.

The holography or graphical view is basically an advanced form of photography that seeks to create three - dimensional images from employment and use of light. In order to obtain the images, a laser beam is used, designed to register a photosensitive film, that is, sensitive to light, at a microscopic level.


According to a press release, the applications of the new technique have no limits: by having a high temporal resolution, it can obtain images of events that occur at full speed , practically in real time. Appreciating a heart as it beats as it pierces a person's chest, or being able to see vehicles moving at maximum speed on a street corner are just a few examples.

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The new study was recently published in the journal Nature Communications. The innovation is part of a relatively new field of research, which focuses on the identification of images hidden behind occlusions or means of dispersion: the working area is called non-line-of-sight (NLoS) images.

However, the method created by the American researchers can quickly capture full-field images of large areas, with sub-millimeter precision. Other approaches related to NLoS technologies have failed to achieve this type of functionality.

Thanks to this level of resolution, the camera built into a computer equipment could potentially obtain images through a person's skin, being able to see even the tiniest capillaries at work. In this way, the new technology would have an interesting potential for application in the medical and biological area.


The creators of the system have highlighted that it also has everything necessary to be incorporated into early warning navigation mechanisms for vehicles, as well as in industrial security tasks that are carried out in confined and difficult-to-access spaces.


As the new method is capable of capturing the entire light field of an object in a hologram, it can then reconstruct its entire three-dimensional shape, without interfering with the light scattering effects produced in certain contexts, such as example with fog. Another detail that improves functionality is that the holographic image is obtained using synthetic waves, instead of normal light waves.

But the researchers go one step further: they argue that the technology will usher in a new era in this field, greatly expanding the capabilities of the instruments and images obtained. While the prototypes developed use visible or infrared light, they could be extended to other wavelengths in the future.

As the principle on which the system works is universal, it could be adapted for example to radio waves, being used in space exploration and research . Furthermore, acoustic imaging underwater would be another possible application.

Ultimately, specialists believe that they have only discovered the tip of the iceberg, and that new technology will be able to contribute much more in the coming years.

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