Researchers in the MIT Media Labs have developed an inexpensive ‘nano-camera’ that can operate at the speed of light. The device finds it’s application in medical imaging, collision-avoidance detectors for cars, and interactive gaming. The ‘nano-camera’ cost only $500.
The camera makes use of “Time of Flight” technology which was used in Microsoft’s second-generation Kinect device. It works on a simple logic; the distance of objects is calculated by how long it takes for a light signal to reflect off a surface and return to the sensor. The team behind the camera include Ramesh Raskar, Achuta Kadambi, Ayush Bhandari, Refael Whyte and Christopher Barsi of MIT as well as Adrian Dorrington and Lee Streeter from the University of Waikato in New Zealand.
“Using the current state of the art, such as the new Kinect, you cannot capture translucent objects in 3-D. That is because the light that bounces off the transparent object and the background smear into one pixel on the camera. Using our technique, you can generate 3-D models of translucent or near-transparent objects,”
The camera makes use of encoding technique that is currently used in the telecommunications industry. So when the signal comes back they can estimate different distances from the single signal.
Read more about this technology at MIT’s website.