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Using a system of lasers and advanced camera technology, engineers from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh Scotland have invented a camera that can track moving objects around corners in real time.

Led by Genevieve Gariepy and Daniele Faccio, the technology is apparently so sensitive that it can track individual photons, as short laser bursts allow the camera to track the light as it bounces off from unseen objects.

To illustrate, watch this videos posted below:

Depending on the shape of the echo, and based on how long it took for the light to bounce back, the technology then computes the numbers to determine the size and distance of the object. In the case of moving objects, it provides measurements every 3 seconds.

Future Use

“This could be incredibly helpful for [computer assisted] vehicles to avoid collisions around sharp turns. . . or emergency responders looking see around blind corners in dangerous situations,” Gariepy says in the release. This could greatly help in the production of smart cars and smart scooters. Hopefully, it can be implemented to help prevent accidents.

In terms of commercial application, the researchers say that it will involve further development.The team hoped to produce even more sensitive cameras, and they want to find ways to decrease the external noise that may disrupt the laser’s signal and lead to inaccurate data.

Currently, the team is working on applying filters that can be used to cancel light, except for the specific wavelength that the camera lasers use, and is also researching ways to detect objects at farther distances.

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