Cell phones are now used extensively for various other reasons in addition to the basic telephone services; take the Camera as an example. In fact, the camera on a mobile phone is one of its main selling points.
A new technology, Superman’s X-Ray Vision (no, not really) could deliver new functionality to the mobile phone’s camera.
This new technological innovation at the University of Texas, Dallas gives an insight that we are not far from the day where we will be able to see through the walls by using our camera. The innovation comprises of two significant advancements in research. Scientists will be able to reach this new milestone by utilizing the unused electromagnetic spectrum and by utilizing the brand new consumer grade microchip. Till now, a terahertz band of the electromagnetic spectrum was not accessible by chips used in consumer grade gadgets. Terahertz band lies between the microwave and infrared rays, and has the capability to penetrate through physical objects much in the lines of X-Rays.
Signals that travel through mobile phone will also bounce back and these bounced back results will be tracked by CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor) based processors. In fact, CMOS processors are the most widely used processors in any consumer grade electronic devices. The sensor present in the chip will be able to remap the image based on the signal that it receives. The advantage with terahertz based processors is that you will be able to generate images with few numbers of lenses. As the number of lenses is less, the size of the camera will be less and it will be easy to implant in a mobile phone. It is also feasible to manufacture cameras in a commercial point of view.
The technological capability to see through walls can also be extended to other kinds of useful applications. There is a possibility to replace traditional X-Rays with Terahertz band. The new technology can also be used to detect fake currencies. As with any new development, there is scope for it’s misuse (we wouldn’t want people to be walking around peeking through walls would we?). The team working on this technology is trying to restrict the usage so that users will not be able to “see through” obstacles if they are four inches away from the objects. On the other hand, the new technology should be very much appreciated for its unique advantage to explore things in new ways.Take Non-destructive testing as an example; not having to use X-Rays to image objects could have huge health and power usage benefits.
Image Courtesy: Cirris