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This Laser-Shooting Camera Can See You From Around the Corner

A team of researchers at Stanford University developed a camera that can capture moving objects hidden around corners.

And unlike the similar camera tech that exists already that requires objects to reflect light evenly and strongly (which is not always the case), this new camera system can reflect light off objects with different textures and surfaces, including a disco ball. And not to mention the camera is faster than the older systems that have been used to see around corners, making it a better fit for autonomous vehicles.

And while the new technology is in its early stages and is somewhat low-res, this camera could be a game-changer for driverless cars.

So how does it work?

It’s pretty simple actually.

These kinds of cameras use lasers to accomplish this seemingly impossible task, firing the laser at a wall opposite the object of interest. The light scatters off the wall, and reflects off the object hidden around the corner and back onto the wall. Sensors, paired with a processing algorithm, measure how long it takes for this scattered light to return to the wall, and using those measurements, the system can accurately reconstruct an image of what’s hiding around the corner.

Pretty cool, right?

And this new and improved camera system created by the Stanford team can do all of this in real time.

The team of researchers was able to make these improvements in time efficiency, plus the system has the ability to detect a much wider variety of objects that reflect light in more complex ways, because of improvements both to the laser and in imaging reconstruction techniques. The laser in this new system is 10,000 times more powerful than the one used in their experiments from last year.

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