Cell Phones To See Through Walls

Researchers at UT Dallas are working on technology to allow cell phones to see through walls. The new approach uses chipsets that lets cell phones make use of the terahertz band of the electromagnetic spectrum.


(Dr. Kenneth O and Dae Yeon Kim)

Using the new approach, images can be created with signals operating in the terahertz (THz) range without having to use several lenses inside a device. This could reduce overall size and cost.

The second advance that makes the findings applicable for consumer devices is the technology used to create the microchip. Chips manufactured using CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor) technology form the basis of many consumer electronic devices used in daily life such as personal computers, smart phones, high definition TV and game consoles.

“CMOS is affordable and can be used to make lots of chips,” Dr. O said. “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.” Due to privacy concerns, Dr. O and his team are focused on uses in the distance range of less than four inches.

Sounds like an opportunity for aftermarket modifications, Android programmers.

SF movie fans may recall the device from the 1997 film The Fifth Element; police used a hand-held device to see through doorways in to apartments.

Fans of sf literature have of course enjoyed various versions of this technology for many years. Consider the Subphoton Search Ray from The Shining One (1937, Nat Schachner), the Probability Time Wave Tube from Elimination (1936, John W. Campbell) and the X-Beam Projector from Diamond Planetoid (1937, Gordon A. Giles).

Via PhysOrg; see also Four technologies to see through walls!

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