- A cheap, compact yet highly accurate new device known as a nanophotonic coherent imager (NCI) promises to allow you to do just that. Using an inexpensive silicon chip less than a millimeter square in size, the NCI provides the highest depth-measurement accuracy of any such nanophotonic 3-D imaging device.
- The new chip utilizes an established detection and ranging technology called LIDAR, in which a target object is illuminated with scanning laser beams. The light that reflects off of the object is then analyzed based on the wavelength of the laser light used, and the LIDAR can gather information about the object's size and its distance from the laser to create an image of its surroundings.
- One day, by creating such vast arrays of these tiny LIDARs, the imager could be applied to a broad range of applications from very precise 3-D scanning and printing to helping driverless cars avoid collisions to improving motion sensitivity in superfine human machine interfaces, where the slightest movements of a patient's eyes and the most minute changes in a patient's heartbeat can be detected on the fly.
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