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Visible Light 'X-Ray' Sees Through Solid Objects

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the I'm-looking-through-you dept.

Medicine 122

disco_tracy writes "Some day we may not need X-rays to see inside people, thanks to a new way to decipher light that passes through opaque surfaces. Normally visible light becomes too scattered to detect after passing through opaque surfaces. But scientists in France have developed a way to reconstruct images from light passing through such surfaces by deciphering just how the material makes the light scatter. In the short term the research will help improve the strength of telecommunications signals and fiber optics cables, but years from now the technology could supplement or even replace traditional ultrasounds for baby imaging and X-rays for weapons detection at airports."

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Peeping toms will love this... (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 4 years ago | (#33817118)

This is a double edged sword. I see good uses, then I see this used to try to execute search warrants, saying that anything in someone's domicile is in "plain view".

Of course the voyeurs will also love opaque viewing technology too.

Oh yeah (1)

aekafan (1690920) | about 4 years ago | (#33817198)

especially the ones that work in the TSA and homeland security. Yet another way for them to perv out on the job.

Re:Oh yeah (1)

drachenstern (160456) | about 4 years ago | (#33817400)

Que the Emperor and his new clothes?

Re:Oh yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33818042)

Why? Because.

(I think you meant queue)

Re:Oh yeah (1)

Attack DAWWG (997171) | about 4 years ago | (#33818246)

Actually, he didn't mean queue . . . unless he was talking about the Emperor standing in line at the airport waiting to go through security. Otherwise he meant cue.

Re:Oh yeah (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 4 years ago | (#33821758)

So, the X-Ray glasses I bought from the back of a comic book really do work? I'm just not looking hard enough?

Re:Peeping toms will love this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33817360)

The only problem I see is for the clothing industry... in China.

Re:Peeping toms will love this... (4, Informative)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | about 4 years ago | (#33817510)

Not likely (in the US at least). Kyllo V United States [go.com] established that using IR to peer into a home requires a warrant, and that's a pretty strong precedent. A key issue of the case was that using IR didn't even need to penetrate the house (it just "recorded" what was being emitted) and yet was STILL not allowed without a warrant. Anything that "peers in" will be just as illegal.

Re:Peeping toms will love this... (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 years ago | (#33818306)

Anything that "peers in" will be just as illegal.

Nowadays, "illegal" doesn't mean you can't do it -- it's just not admissable in court.

You can get your last dollar they still do it, but then need to come up with a pretense for anything involving the courts.

Remember, they can now slap a GPS device onto your car with absolutely no court oversight. Just imagine all of the illegal things they do and cover with sealed court proceedings.

Re:Peeping toms will love this... (1)

PitaBred (632671) | about 4 years ago | (#33818544)

NSLs. "We thought he was a terrorist your honor, but all we found was some pot"

Re:Peeping toms will love this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33819452)

Depending on jurisdiction... they can't bust you for the pot because that's not what they were looking for.

Win-win?

Captcha was "Privacy".

Re:Peeping toms will love this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33820210)

not true. in plain sight. unexpected findings. all admissible.

Re:Peeping toms will love this... (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | about 4 years ago | (#33820010)

Anything that "peers in"

What if it pees in? That OK?

Re:Peeping toms will love this... (1)

N1AK (864906) | about 4 years ago | (#33821664)

A key issue of the case was that using IR didn't even need to penetrate the house (it just "recorded" what was being emitted)

Fortunately the court realised the stupidity of the argument. When I look through your window part of my body or conscious doesn't travel within your house, my eyes use the visible light spectrum emissions that travel from the property.

Clearly most people think of private as being unavailable to the human senses of people on public ground. If I phone my neighbour I want that to be private, I don't have the same expectation if I speak to them by shouting over my fence. This issue is only going to become more prevalent. Inventions that enhance our ability to detect are coming thick and fast, home anti-surveillance is virtually non-existent and I'm not sure I want to encourage an arms race.

How amusing (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 4 years ago | (#33822818)

to think that US law enforcement still follows such an arcane principal as 'the law'

Re:Peeping toms will love this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33822908)

Anything that "peers in" will be just as illegal.

Then tell that to the US government that is buying Z-backscatter vans [as-e.com] by the hundreds.

Re:... Especially in pubic spaces! (1)

DarkStarZumaBeach (668886) | about 4 years ago | (#33824298)

One expects the hidden 3D image reconstruction process to improve with multiple image capture sources at different angles:

This would imply that public surveillance cameras could be used in a "phased-array" configuration to provide data for hidden 3D image reconstruction, unless the photons are routed around the target volume using metamaterial fabrics.

Rapid adoption of hidden 3D image reconstruction technology could result in a commercial demand for metamaterial fabrics to provide pedestrians with relative privacy.

Harry Potter is a fashion setter with his father's invisibility cloak!

On the flip side, plastic surgeons may discover a new source of revenue: Commercial brand placements INSIDE of patients willing to sell ad space to sponsored plastic surgery services.

"Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?" -- Mae West

Re:Peeping toms will love this... (1)

sjames (1099) | about 4 years ago | (#33818348)

Fortunately, so far the courts support a view that enhancements like IR don't count as plain view. Hopefully that will continue here.

Re:Peeping toms will love this... (2, Insightful)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | about 4 years ago | (#33819592)

"This is a double edged sword."

As is every single piece of technology that ever has, and ever will be, invented. Any progress in any field of study has both benevolent and malevolent purposes. Fire is used for cooking, also for arson. The wheel is used to transport goods, also make off with stolen goods. The hammer helps build things, and bash skulls in. Etc.

This new visible light "x-ray" can be used for spying or legitimate medical purposes.

The trick is to ensure that those in power do not abuse this technology. This is done by not allowing them to keep secrets. This is done by forcing information out of them, by deadly force if necessary.

Re:Peeping toms will love this... (1)

tombeard (126886) | about 4 years ago | (#33820806)

I like your conclusion.

I suggest that personal information become a new IP. Who you are when and where you are with whomever doing whatever should be property of the individual. Other people may have that same IP, but they may not store it, aggregate it, track or sell it. The information belongs to the subject. This is completely opposite of current thinking, but current thinking leads to unworkable situations. You own your own information and no one else can keep or aggregate it, except as you expressly allow. To do otherwise would be theft and punished as such. Yea, I know that causes other problems, but you gotta pick. This is much more important (valuable) then mp3's.

Re:Peeping toms will love this... (1)

stor (146442) | about 4 years ago | (#33821446)

> As is every single piece of technology that ever has, and ever will be, invented.

Indeed! As Louis CK says, "Even a single-edged sword is a double-edged sword"

-Stor

Re:Peeping toms will love this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33823664)

The problem is that in a lot of countries, there is no counterbalance. Depending on the country, protesters wind up in jail, shot at, or targets for new nerve gas agents.

I will be pessimistic here, but if this technology becomes readily available, I'm sure we will be seeing it used for a lot of nefarious stuff:

Dissidents would be tracked to houses they are meeting at, or other secret meeting spots, then rounded up and the place searched for anything incriminating. A lot of governments are not like the US... there is no such thing as a search warrant in some places, and suspicion is the same thing as reasonable doubt for a conviction in parts of the world. There are countries where the arresting officer is also the judge and has the ability to assign prison terms on the spot.

It would be easy to enforce keeping people from assembling more than 2-3 people this way. Have a high flying blimp or satellite, look for multiple spots, and if more than "X" are present as a house, send the SWAT team, especially if the people are not class "A" citizens with an up to date association permit.

"Plain view" will take on a different meaning. We already have been though the IR issue once, but with the way the courts are leaning, using a device like this will be considered plain view. Once ACTA passes, we may see the police actively looking at houses for EEPROM debuggers, smart card programmers, and computers running "non-reg" operating systems. Sending potheads to prison for life is not good enough... the more people in prison, the more revenue certain sectors with powerful lobbyists get.

Of course, this info will be sold to marketing and insurance companies. A camera detects someone is on the john more than 5 minutes a day, it sends that info to the insurance company who assumes the person has a chronic condition and automatically drops them. Similar if someone is sleeping more or less than the average.

Then the technology passes to common criminals. They see who is home most of the time and are easily able to mount home invasion attacks, especially if they doublecheck that the person does not have a firearm. They can even see what valuables a home contains before going after it, and what alarm system (if any) is present.

Of course, these devices will be forbidden to common citizens even though the smarter street criminal will have it. It never works both ways.

A new way to make pr0n? (3, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 4 years ago | (#33817164)

This will make the "xray" threads on /b/ waaay more interesting.

Re:A new way to make pr0n? (1)

Silpher (1379267) | about 4 years ago | (#33822520)

X-rayted?

We don't use X-rays to see in utero fetii (2, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 4 years ago | (#33817168)

This is a pretty cool idea, but it will probably not take the place of x-rays. X-ray is cheap, easy, accurate, and relatively harmless (in small doses).

This sounds expensive, requires a large amount of processing capability, isn't very portable, and relies on light actually passing through the object. For some applications this may be useful, but for the vast majority of imaging tasks that require visualizing the internals of an object, x-rays will be the better solution.

Now, an x-ray scanner that didn't require film plates. That would be good!

Re:We don't use X-rays to see in utero fetii (2, Funny)

eleuthero (812560) | about 4 years ago | (#33817576)

But don't you realize that everything is interconnected? Even if a bomb is totally obscured by thirty tons of rice around it in a packing crate, it will be detectable by taking a visible-light picture of the period in U.S.A. on the side of the separately packaged delivery manifest. This is the great thing about technology, it is always bringing us ever closer to a world where the primary question on our lips should be, "Do you know where your towel is?"

Re:We don't use X-rays to see in utero fetii (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33818026)

At least for medical, they already [goo.gl] exist [goo.gl] . Dental too [goo.gl] .

Re:We don't use X-rays to see in utero fetii (0, Redundant)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | about 4 years ago | (#33818230)

Stop using URL shorteners you cunt!

Re:We don't use X-rays to see in utero fetii (1)

c6gunner (950153) | about 4 years ago | (#33818210)

These durned new ow-toe-mo-beals sound like the bees knees, but they will never take the place of good ol' "Lightning" over here. He might fart a lot and throw me once in a while, but he's cheap, easy, accurate, and relatively harmless. These sound expensive, require all sorts of factories, they break down all the time, and rely on someone to bring oil from who-knows-where just to get them to move. In some cases they may be useful, but for the majority of your traveling needs, horses are clearly the way to go!

Re:We don't use X-rays to see in utero fetii (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33818518)

Fetus is from Greek roots, not Latin. Its plural is 'fetuses.'

Stop trying to look smart, because you look dumb by doing so.

Re:We don't use X-rays to see in utero fetii (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33818878)

No, it's Latin. But in English usage it's pluralized Fetuses nevertheless.

Re:We don't use X-rays to see in utero fetii (1)

sergei83 (1768402) | about 4 years ago | (#33821286)

Origin: late Middle English: from Latin fetus 'pregnancy, childbirth, offspring'

Re:We don't use X-rays to see in utero fetii (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33821418)

Fetus is from Greek roots, not Latin. Its plural is 'fetuses.'

Stop trying to look smart, because you look dumb by doing so.

Stop trying to look smart, because you look dumb by doing so.

Re:We don't use X-rays to see in utero fetii (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 4 years ago | (#33824248)

Now, an x-ray scanner that didn't require film plates. That would be good!

New X-ray machines have been digital for years now. Film is almost obsolete.

Visible? Opaque? (5, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 4 years ago | (#33817172)

How does visible light make its way through an opaque object?

Re:Visible? Opaque? (3, Informative)

piemonkey (1628149) | about 4 years ago | (#33817218)

How does visible light make its way through an opaque object?

I know you aren't supposed to read TFA, but ""It's like putting a flashlight behind your hand," said Sylvain Gigan... "You cannot see an image, but you can still see a faint glow.""

Re:Visible? Opaque? (4, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | about 4 years ago | (#33817302)

No. Reading is useless without understanding. The OP was correct in asking. Your hand is not opaque [wikipedia.org] , it is translucent.

Re:Visible? Opaque? (0)

piemonkey (1628149) | about 4 years ago | (#33817418)

From Wikipedia "An opaque substance transmits very little light, and therefore reflects, scatters, or absorbs most of it." Yes, it's making it seem more than it is, but it's still correct (unless wikipedia is wrong, which is impossible).

Re:Visible? Opaque? (2, Interesting)

eleuthero (812560) | about 4 years ago | (#33817624)

unless wikipedia is wrong, which is impossible

You make me want to go and edit the elephant entry again. ... Or maybe go and randomly edit something I know nothing about basing all my information off of other wikipedia articles, quoting them for authority. I think I might combine something about army ants, satellite antennas, and low-end computer speakers. Or maybe I'll just add the word "not" in front of a significant statement in one of the articles related to a student's upcoming paper to see if they bite the poison apple. Anyone else with me?

Re:Visible? Opaque? (1)

Unkyjar (1148699) | about 4 years ago | (#33818066)

Take your pick: Opaque [merriam-webster.com] , opaque [thefreedictionary.com] , opaque [reference.com] , either way, his question is valid and the wikipedia entry on the subject matches not only all online and offline dictionary definitions but also textbook ones. And the answer that human hands are translucent is also valid. So give'm a break?

Re:Visible? Opaque? (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 4 years ago | (#33821026)

No, the answer that human hands are translucent is not valid. Transparency and translucency imply the ability to somewhat discern what is behind the object.

The human hand does not allow that.

Re:Visible? Opaque? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | about 4 years ago | (#33817792)

How about a dictionary, not a wikipedia/"encyclopedia" entry ... "does not transmit light."

Re:Visible? Opaque? (1)

Wizard Drongo (712526) | about 4 years ago | (#33818326)

Actually, you'd want "does not conduct light". Something that transmits light, ie. originates it is different from something that merely acts as a conduit for already existent work

Re:Visible? Opaque? (1)

Tim C (15259) | about 4 years ago | (#33823124)

Actually in this sense, transmit [cambridge.org] is correct. As a physics grad I would certainly never use conduct [cambridge.org] for anything other than heat or electricity.

Re:Visible? Opaque? (1)

sjames (1099) | about 4 years ago | (#33818448)

Yes, but so are most things if the light is bright enough or the detector sensitive enough.

Re:Visible? Opaque? (5, Insightful)

blincoln (592401) | about 4 years ago | (#33817462)

I know you aren't supposed to read TFA, but "'It's like putting a flashlight behind your hand,' said Sylvain Gigan... 'You cannot see an image, but you can still see a faint glow.'"

I think it would help if TFA included an actual example image, and not just a photo of someone holding their hand up behind a shower screen and a note to the effect that the actual technology might produce images sort of like that one.

Re:Visible? Opaque? (2, Informative)

erichill (583191) | about 4 years ago | (#33817970)

The actual "FA" is here [arxiv.org] , with images. Gigan, et al. say, "opaque materials."

Re:Visible? Opaque? (1)

wringles (12507) | about 4 years ago | (#33818134)

... and not just a photo of someone holding their hand up behind a shower screen ...

That picture looks suspiciously like the poster of this movie [imdb.com] .

Re:Visible? Opaque? (2, Insightful)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | about 4 years ago | (#33817260)

That's exactly what I thought. It's a poor choice of words, in my opinion. Opaque by definition means that it blocks light from passing through it, but I just figured it was some kind of quantum mechanical thing, just like all the other physics I don't understand.

Re:Visible? Opaque? (2, Insightful)

jd (1658) | about 4 years ago | (#33817524)

I guess the first question is whether something can be truly opaque (zero light travels through) or whether all things are translucent if you've a sensitive enough detector.

Assuming that there are genuinely opaque objects, are there enough objects that are translucent (though not to the unaided eye) to make this technique interesting?

My guess is that almost everything will be translucent, though not everything. If the gaps between atoms is on the scale of the wavelength of light, then the atoms will act as a diffraction grating. Given the number of such gratings light has to pass through for any meaningful object, that's going to make a serious mess of the observations.

In order to be truly opaque, two criteria must be met - every photon has to intersect a particle and for every such intersection, the particle has to be able to absorb the photon. Since matter is mostly empty space, you'd need an awful lot of particles to absorb all photons. However, I can see no obvious reason why it would be impossible to have such an arrangement.

Re:Visible? Opaque? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33817950)

Black holes?

Re:Visible? Opaque? (1)

jd (1658) | about 4 years ago | (#33818320)

Black Holes radiate at least Hawking Radiation and that radiation is supposed to reflect the information inside the Black Hole (and thus the information of some photon or other).

Re:Visible? Opaque? (2, Informative)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about 4 years ago | (#33818020)

Thanks to quantum tunneling nothing is ever completely opaque. A particle's path from A to B doesn't necessarily have to pass through all the points in between. Some tiny fraction of the photons will always act as though the object isn't even there.

Re:Visible? Opaque? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33822430)

Some tiny fraction of the photons will always act as though the object isn't even there.

In which case detecting them would tell you nothing about the object they passed through.

Re:Visible? Opaque? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33818992)

There's a difference between a photon every once in a while making it through and having enough to form an image. There are likely a lot of objects that you simply can't form a reasonable image through without using enough light to vaporize them.

Re:Visible? Opaque? (1)

turing_m (1030530) | about 4 years ago | (#33818276)

Opaque by definition means that it blocks light from passing through it, but I just figured it was some kind of quantum mechanical thing, just like all the other physics I don't understand.

So in other words, quantum mechanics is opaque to you. Or at best, translucent.

Re:Visible? Opaque? (2, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | about 4 years ago | (#33817768)

How does visible light make its way through an opaque object?

Simple, on exit from the opaque object, the light has turned invisible. This new device can see the invisible light.

Re:Visible? Opaque? (1)

garompeta (1068578) | about 4 years ago | (#33818254)

I hope you are joking around.

Re:Visible? Opaque? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 4 years ago | (#33818128)

Ever put a powerful flashlight against your fingertips?

Re:Visible? Opaque? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33818222)

How does visible light make its way through an opaque object?

Depends the material. Metal foil 0% gets through. Human flesh is mostly water and translucent. Ever hear of a fluoroscope? I question how clear an image will ever be given the different densities of material making up a human body. Say for your head the brain, skull and skin all have different diffusion rates. Even soft tissue will vary. Muscle, skin and fat will have different rates. The process will be more useful in a controlled environment where there is a single material they have to allow for not something as random as the human body.

Re:Visible? Opaque? (4, Informative)

seeker_1us (1203072) | about 4 years ago | (#33818314)

It's called Ballistic light [wikipedia.org] .

The idea is that you send light against an opaque medium, the photons getting blocked or scattered is a statistical process. Some of them, simply as a matter of probability, "sneak through" in a straight line.

To get around the low probability, you use a strong light source, modulate it (if you modulate the light, you can pick it out with a tuning circuit, so that you can screen out background light), and then average over a long period of time.

Eventually, you get enough ballistic photons through that you can map out an image.

Re:Visible? Opaque? (3, Funny)

edjs (1043612) | about 4 years ago | (#33819086)

It's called Ballistic light [wikipedia.org] .

Eventually, you get enough ballistic photons through that you can map out an image.

And if you get the light strong enough, you resolve the opacity issue permanently, once the smoke clears.

Re:Visible? Opaque? (3, Informative)

radtea (464814) | about 4 years ago | (#33823568)

Eventually, you get enough ballistic photons through that you can map out an image.

Physicists don't actually use terms like "opaque" very often. We are more likely to talk about material that is "highly absorbing" or "highly scattering". The human body contains lots of both.

One area where people have tried to apply this is in optical mamography: women's breasts are primarily fatty tissue that is highly scattering but very weakly absorbing, so you get a surprisingly large fraction of transmitted light. You have to do a huge amount of processing to deconvolve the scattering kernel, but when I worked in the area in the late '90's it was getting close to useful.

For people reading this who are female or who have wives or girlfreinds willing to go along, go into a dark room and hold a flashlight under your (partner's) breast. You'll be amazed by the amount of veinous structure and whatnot you can see. Squeeze the breast flat to get more detail. Insert joke here about how now you're in a dark room with a woman who has at least one breast exposed so you know what comes next...

Very athletic women with smaller breasts may not see much: the chest muscles are highly absorbing and any any photon that scatters into them is lost.

High-speed computation is making visible light a more useful medium of detection all the time, and the work described in TFA is an interesting step along the way.

Re:Visible? Opaque? (5, Funny)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33818950)

It just so happens that your object here is only MOSTLY opaque. There's a big difference between mostly opaque and all opaque. Mostly opaque is slightly transparent. With all opaque, well, with all opaque there's usually only one thing you can do.

Re:Visible? Opaque? (1)

aXis100 (690904) | about 4 years ago | (#33819514)

Go through their clothes and look for loose change?

Re:Visible? Opaque? (1, Troll)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33819858)

Exactly. And thank you so much for spelling "loose" correctly.

Cue a new fashion... (0, Redundant)

piemonkey (1628149) | about 4 years ago | (#33817174)

tin foil underwear.

Pretty sure that won't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33817248)

T'is a little thing called density. And there is too much of it.

Mind you, i'm no expert on the density of flesh between sensor and the babymaker, so it could possibly work.
I do remember i used to shine lasers in to the webby parts of my hand to see it come through really vibrant reds.
But then this just makes me think the opticians are trying to make weak-sighted babies. Conspiracy!

Ouch! (-1, Offtopic)

bflong (107195) | about 4 years ago | (#33817250)

My Sperm!

Re:Ouch! (1)

bjoast (1310293) | about 4 years ago | (#33817760)

Did it hurt the second time?

Re:Ouch! (1)

bflong (107195) | about 4 years ago | (#33818506)

Hmm... Didn't hurt that time.

Yet another example of this kind of article (-1, Offtopic)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about 4 years ago | (#33817312)

Some day man will be able to fly through the air over enormous distances. Scientists in the cave near the river have managed to bang two sticks together. Normally sticks do not produce noise on their own, but when banged together they can make relatively loud sounds. In the short term, this can help wake up fellow cave dwellers, but in the future it could become the basis of all manner of inventions such as aircraft, computers, even agriculture itself.

Inconceivable (0, Redundant)

brainspank (515274) | about 4 years ago | (#33817396)

X-Ray. See through. Solid. You keep using those words. I do not think they mean what you think they mean.

Babies at airports ARE weapons (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33817398)

I say why stop at x-rays. Gamma rays are too good for them.

opaque != translucent (0, Redundant)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 4 years ago | (#33817448)

opaque:
      1. Impervious to the rays of light; not transparent; as, an opaque substance.
Translucent:
    1. Transmitting light but causing sufficient diffusion to prevent perception of distinct images.

If an object is opaque there is no "light passing through such surfaces" that can be deciphered. It is call opacity but opaque means 0 light pass through.

A better explanation (2, Informative)

Leon da Costa (225027) | about 4 years ago | (#33817694)

Amazing! A friend of mine has done his Ph.D. in exactly this field. He was shining a beam of light right THROUGH an opaque sheet of material (paper, I think) already a few years ago, and published about it in 2008. I think it's pretty much the same idea, from what I understand of it (but keep in mind, I chose the evil path of Business instead of Science, so I have no brain).

Anyway; on his page [ivovellekoop.nl] there's a much better explanation, with cute pictures and all that, of the same idea.

Re:A better explanation (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 4 years ago | (#33817844)

Amazing! A friend of mine has done his Ph.D. in exactly this field. He was shining a beam of light right THROUGH an opaque sheet of material (paper, I think) already a few years ago, and published about it in 2008. I think it's pretty much the same idea, from what I understand of it (but keep in mind, I chose the evil path of Business instead of Science, so I have no brain).

Anyway; on his page [ivovellekoop.nl] there's a much better explanation, with cute pictures and all that, of the same idea.

Thanks, I thought I read some journal articles about this a year or two ago.

Re:A better explanation (1)

toQDuj (806112) | about 4 years ago | (#33821932)

Yes, the scattering of light has been investigated for almost 100 years now, so not much new in this except that they managed to deconvolute the spread function of the white paint from the image and retrieve the original projection.

cheaper/safer CAT sacans? (2, Interesting)

incy_webb (1090779) | about 4 years ago | (#33817852)

I've had this idea for a while now that low-heat, very bright LEDs are available as light sources: 1. take an existing CAT scanner: Xray source, detector, mounting system (with the rotating arm) and image processing software. 2. replace the Xray source with a bank of LEDs 3. replace the Xray detector (a scintillation screen? whatever it is) with a CCD 4. start scanning Obviously there's a whole bunch of experimentation needed to calibrate diffusion due to different types of tissue/bone/marshmallow but the software should be mostly unchanged, the mechanical mounting system would be mostly unchanged, and we'd be replacing a radioactive source with a low-power, low-heat light. Is anybody working on this? I've asked a couple of professor at a biomedical engineering department but much silence ensued. The ability to use off-the-shelf components seems like a big plus to me... There would also be a need to check at what intensity cold light is detrimental to cells (and other small issues like that)

Re:cheaper/safer CAT sacans? (1)

c6gunner (950153) | about 4 years ago | (#33818250)

5. Replace melted patient with new patient.
6. Fix broken chair and write reminder to buy restraints for next patient.
7. Demand ONE HUNDRED BEEEELION dollars.
8. Profit!

Re:cheaper/safer CAT sacans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33818438)

Use Google Scholar to look for papers with key words "Photon Diffusion", "Optical Carrier Tomography (OCT)", and/or "Ballistic Photons" and you will quickly figure out why what you suggest is not possible using photons much weaker than soft x-rays...
(Hint: Some photons must make it to the sensor in a timely fashion, or you get nothing. Too many scattering events kills your signal...)

Re:cheaper/safer CAT sacans? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33819136)

I think you'd find that in order to get enough photons through your head, for example, in some sort of reasonable time, you'd need to use a very high power light. Probably high enough power that it would tend to vaporize your subjects.

These guys can (sort of) reconstruct an image from scattered light. That doesn't address the problem of convincing enough light to measure to go through in the first place.

Re:cheaper/safer CAT scans? (1)

incy_webb (1090779) | about 4 years ago | (#33819370)

but what about for thinner body parts, like hands or feet? A quick scanner for those might still be useful for replacing the need for xrays in some situations. It might be possible to have the light sent to include positioning information (for example, send a string instead of a single pulse) and correlate where it was seen with where it was sent from.

Re:cheaper/safer CAT scans? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33819842)

I think that's what they're getting at.

It might work on hands, if they manage to reconstruct better images. If you try and do CT you're going to get a lot of artifacts from the bones though.

Will you be able to... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 years ago | (#33818030)

... see anything more than the silhouette of what is being concealed by the "opaque" surface though? While in many cases, a silhouette could well provide enough for a lot of different purposes, I don't think it's quite what I'd consider really "seeing" something.

OK, so let's see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33818180)

The title says "Visible Light 'X-Ray' Sees Through Solid Objects". So it's a done deal? We have a machine that you stand or sit in front of and we have pictures equivalent in usefulness to a standard x-ray?

(reads summary)

Oh, it's decades away, if at all, for now the application is for one single case where the material is not really "opaque" in the everyday sense...

You know, we complain about shoddy science reporting but aren't you Slashdotters just as bad?

This is almost as bad as a Space Nuttery story: "We can build 5000KM solar wind sails and get 1c /KW/h power!"

Um, no we can't.

lets review optic physics 101 (1)

garompeta (1068578) | about 4 years ago | (#33818212)

1) We see reflected and refracted light, otherwise we would see darkness.
2) An opaque object means that light bounces from it, therefore see the opaqur object and we can't see what's in the other side.
3) if the best analogy they could have come up with is a hand with a potent source of light that allows to see the blurry hints of bones and veins of our hand, it is translucency not opacity.

It makes sense to recompose scattered light with algorithms, but it doesn't make sense if they insist calling it "seeing through opacity".
If they claim that they can see through a rock "with visual light" then it is truly something I would like to have next to my IR filters in the beach. (remember the nightshot + Ir filters scandal? Lol)

Re:lets review optic physics 101 (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 years ago | (#33818330)

We also see emitted light, do we not?

At last I can throw away my X-Ray Specs (1)

shwonline (992049) | about 4 years ago | (#33818258)

Now if someone can just develop a technology to let me throw my voice, my back-of-the-comic-book dreams will be fulfilled.

Correction of trivial relevance (0)

VanGarrett (1269030) | about 4 years ago | (#33818534)

...years from now the technology could supplement or even replace traditional ultrasounds for baby imaging...

Ultrasound is for listening to sounds inside the body, such as the faint heartbeat of an unborn human. Imaging is accomplished by Sonogram.

Re:Correction of trivial relevance (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33818780)

Ultrasound is for listening to sounds inside the body, such as the faint heartbeat of an unborn human.

No it isn't. Ultrasound is ultrasonic, by definition. (Higher frequency than normal sound.) Ultrasound is often used for imaging; the resulting images are called sonograms. Ultrasound can detect heartbeats through movement (Doppler shifting the ultrasound waves). It's not for listening to normal sound waves originating from inside the body. That's just a stethoscope (or fancier variant thereof).

Re:Correction of trivial relevance (3, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33819172)

A sonogram is the image produced by an ultrasound machine. Ultrasound imaging is called "ultrasonography."

Listening to sounds within the body is called auscultation.

Re:Correction of trivial relevance (1)

ndege (12658) | about 4 years ago | (#33820204)

mod parent up. grandparent is wrong.

Unless... (1)

DrYak (748999) | about 4 years ago | (#33823456)

Listening to sounds within the body is called auscultation.

Unless you're not listening to the noises themselves directly with a stethoscope (= auscultation), but listening to artificial reconstruction of noises produced by a machine.

When it's not practical to stick a stethoscope on it (like the heart of a *un*born baby), you can use Doppler effect to detect motion of the blood. This is then either shown with colours superimposed over the regular US-picture, or (after Fourrier transformation) on a frequency/time/intensity graph, or can be converted to audible frequencies and played on speakers. So yeah, you can "listen" to a heart using ultrasound (after some processing)., instead of sticking your ear on it (with a tube in between).

Re:Unless... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33823922)

True, although you might say that listening to a fetal heartbeat with a doppler ultrasound is like listening to the sound a car makes by feeding the output of a radar gun into a speaker.

The conversion of doppler us to audio is a small part of one us modality though. Even if you accept that you're actually listening to sounds, it's not true that "ultrasound is for listening to sounds inside the body" NOT imaging.

Coming Soon (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 4 years ago | (#33818560)

To a google truck near you.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33820178)

Doesn't this sound like Angel Light by Troy Hurtubise?

He said he sold the technology to France and everyone said he was crazy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troy_Hurtubise

Re: (1)

clint999 (1277046) | about 4 years ago | (#33820568)

I hope you are joking around.

This is new? (1)

sco08y (615665) | about 4 years ago | (#33821330)

Pretty sure those assholes with the halogen headlights can see through several meters of solid rock pretty easily.

If it's bright enough... (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 4 years ago | (#33821876)

ISTR seeing footage of nuke tests where the flash is so bright pretty much everything in front becomes see through. Well, until it becomes vapour.
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