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Science: 

This incredible spy camera can see around corners

camera-sees-around-corners-1

Busted. This future spy camera makes stealth operations impossible.

If, like us, you spent your youth creeping about on stealthy video games like Metal Gear Solid, then you’ll be horrified by a new device that could stop you in your tip-toed tracks. It’s a spy camera that can see around corners.

The ingenious device is said to be able to detect movement around a blind corner, using just a laser and an ultra-sensitive camera. It could be used by the security industry to monitor high-risk areas covertly, or to help the emergency services in disaster areas or rescue operations.

The technology was designed in Scotland by team of engineers and optics researchers at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University.

How does it work?

Take a deep breath, here comes the science bit.

The clever camera is able to see around corners by utilizing randomly scattered light. First it beams its laser towards a small square on the floor near the corner it wants to see around. After hitting the ground, the light spreads in all directions, including around the corner where any objects are hiding, which – when hit by the light – reflect the light once again back to the camera’s uber-sensitive detector.

That’s the basic idea, except the laser actually fires its beam around 67 million times per second, and the camera is powerful enough to track individual protons, so the combined tools are able to track movement every 3 seconds.

The researchers explain how it work in a little more detail in their video, below.

Now that the research team has proved its concept works, it says it will be developing it so they can detect objects at even larger distances. It’s thought that one day the technology may even help computer-assisted vehicles avoid collisions around blind corners.

To read the study in full, a journal is available at Nature Photonics.

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