X-ray vision is a concept out of comic books and science fiction films. This ability of superheroes lets them look through walls and solid surfaces. Now, we can’t have that ability with our bare eyes as of yet, but we are getting closer.
We already have X-ray and Ultrasound machines that enable us to look behind surfaces. However, recently, users found an effect inside the camera app of Oneplus 8. This effect lets users see behind the black plastic surfaces. While the feature was treated with skepticism at first, it quickly managed to change the opinions of the users. While it worked fine, for the most part, glossy black surfaces were where it excelled the most.
Researchers have now developed a solution that uses the terahertz band from the electromagnetic waves spectrum. This band lies between microwaves and infrared light waves. With this solution, users will be able to see through walls, plastic, wood, paper, and other materials using their phones.
The new solution offers a cheaper way that before for utilizing these frequency bands. Most of the modern phones are already equipped with cameras that use the infrared band to enhance night vision shots. With the addition of the terahertz band in the mix, we will also be able to visualize behind surfaces now.
The research team made two significant discoveries. They also developed a microchip using CMOS technology. This chip is what enables the to utilize the previously unused band of the electromagnetic waves spectrum. Now our phones already use microwaves for cellular communications. The infrared waves similarly are helpful in Nightvision applications. With this chip, we will now be able to utilize the terahertz band.
This imaging technology could prove helpful in a lot of health as well as industrial applications. Commenting on their discovery Dr. Kenneth O, director of the Texas Analog Center of Excellence(TxACE) and professor of electrical engineering at UT Dallas, said:
“CMOS is affordable and we can use it to make a lot of chips. The combination of CMOS and terahertz means you could put this chip and receiver on the back of a cellphone, turning it into a device carried in your pocket that can see through objects. We’ve created approaches that open a previously untapped portion of the electromagnetic spectrum for consumer use and life-saving medical applications. The terahertz range is full of unlimited potential that could benefit us all.”
The team is currently working on a short-ranged application of the technology. They have limited it to 4 inches. Using this technology, future phones will be able to spot out things like counterfeit money, small fractures, and even tumors in the body.
There are a few security concerns that come with this product though. As discussed earlier, when Oneplus discovered that filter in their camera application, they quick to remove it with a patch. Keeping this in mind, the developers will have to take a careful stance wit their invention.
This is the reason they are first working with the 4-inch range solution early so that once they sort out the path to take for long-range applications. There may be some restrictions or Blockers put inside devices to stop others from looking inside them.