Researchers have managed to create a powerful holographic camera that is capable of seeing through objects such as corners, fog and even humans reveals a new study.

Developed by researchers at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, it uses a technique called synthetic wavelength holography.. It works by reconstructing the path taken by a beam of light as it propagates through various objects, bouncing off surfaces until the beam returns to the source, where it is recorded by a detector.

An AI algorithm tracks the path of scattered light, allowing the viewer to see the world from the perspective of a remote surface, even if they are behind the camera’s line of sight.

This field of research, called non-line-of-sight (NLoS) imaging, is quite nascent, yet the Northwestern researchers’ implementation is well advanced as it rapidly captures high-resolution full-field images with submillimeter precision. 

holographic images
Northwestern University

Typically, to successfully understand the images that are happening in the back, a complex array of really fast detectors is needed to register the image. However, the researchers here have found a solution, using two lasers to generate a synthetic light wave that can record an object’s entire field of view and create its full 3D shape.

And since it has high temporal resolution and fast response time (less than 50 milliseconds), the camera could, in theory at least, be able to capture images of fast-moving objects like cars or people hiding behind a turn. .

Florian Willomitzer, the first author of the study explains: “This technique turns the walls into mirrors. It improves since the technique can also work at night and in foggy conditions ”.

holographic images
Northwestern University

This holographic imaging technology has several implementations: It can be used to see through tissue, revealing a beating heart or internal organs, or it could even replace complementary endoscopes, helping clinicians to look inside in a non-invasive way. resulting in a comfortable experience. The technology can also be used in autonomous cars, making them safer and preventing more accidents in the future.

autonomous driving technology

The prototype made by the researchers uses IR light; however, in theory, it can be reconfigured and extended to other frequencies for use in applications such as space exploration or underwater imaging.

Willomitzer concluded by saying: “There is still a long way to go before we see these types of imagers embedded in automobiles or approved for medical applications. Maybe 10 years or even more, but it will come ”.