These days the capabilities of most smart phones can make you feel like some kind of citizen of the future – but what if your phone could literally see through walls? What if just by owning a phone you could be like Superman himself? Kenneth O, a professor of electrical engineering at University of Texas at Dallas has been leading up a team of researchers who have developed an “imager chip” that can allow mobile phones to see through walls and other surfaces. Technically the chip isn’t picking up x-rays, but rather terahertz waves – a band within the electromagnetic spectrum that falls somewhere between microwave and infrared wavelengths.
While terahertz waves have at least 10,000 times less energy than traditional x-rays, prior to this development, the technology for viewing the invisible waves has been bulky and expensive making the whole process cost-prohibitive. The equipment developed by Kenneth O and his team would be small enough to be mounted on the back of a smartphone camera. It is powerful enough to see through drywall, wood, plastics and cardboard if held within 10 centimeters of an object – though, much like Superman himself, falls short at being able to see through lead. Already O and his team are seeing the need for possible limitations to the system as it would be able to see through things like clothing and other garments.
(Source: The Globe and Mail)