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What (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354398)

they can actually see the movement of photons of light across a scene or object

...no.

Re:What (3, Interesting)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354540)

Well they can, just not individual photons or individual photon events.
It's exactly the same as an oscilloscope -- you also don't see the shape of an individual pulse. You under-sample, and then add the samples together assuming it was always the same pulse.

Re:What (5, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354614)

Well they can, just not individual photons or individual photon events.
It's exactly the same as an oscilloscope -- you also don't see the shape of an individual pulse. You under-sample, and then add the samples together assuming it was always the same pulse.

Only with digital scopes. With analog that's exactly how it works, you can, if you want, see literally one pulse. Not much analog scopes on professional desktops anymore... they're all on hardware hackers basement desks now, like mine. Thats why I bring it up, on average across /. readership there are probably more analog scope users than digital scope users. That would make an interesting /. poll,
1) I use an analog scope
2) I use a digital scope
3) Cowboy Neal is a my scope
4) Whats an oscilloscope?

Re:What (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354712)

Not true either -- some digital scopes (the super-high-bandwidth ones) work that way, so all you need is a wicked fast sampling circuit, instead of making the whole thing wicked fast, but most "ordinary" digital scopes are perfectly capable of one-shot captures.

And OTOH, most analog scopes I've used, when you use the fastest available horizontal sweep, the beam is dim enough I can't see a single event -- so unless you're using a storage scope or one of those polaroid capture widgets, you're forced to visually average across multiple sweeps here as well.

But yeah, I got a couple analog tektronixes for the odd electronics project. Nothing impresses non-geeks like hooking up a scope to an RS232 line and reading off the bit rate and data format...

Re:What (4, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354812)

If you have a rare and expensive quad channel scope, watch the TX and RX, AND the hardware control lines and have fun telling them how fast their interrupt service routines are, this used to completely freak out OS/device driver developers (so... you mean you just look on a scope, instead of hand counting theoretical instructions?)

I will admit you are correct, if you have way too much money you can buy direct non undersampling digital scopes. Or I suppose if you're only monitoring audio speed signals or whatever.

Re:What (2)

tzanger (1575) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355266)

Nothing impresses non-geeks like hooking up a scope to an RS232 line and reading off the bit rate and data format...

I'm pretty sure non-techies don't have a clue what RS232 is, nor care about the bit rate and data format. :-) It does tend to impress the protogeeks and the more experienced geek squad techs, though.

Re:What (5, Informative)

GrpA (691294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354630)

No... The OP is correct.

This isn't new technology. It's called "Gated Image Intensifier Photography" and is used for everything from Lidar to special night vision devices that can see underwater. It is one of the few technologies that allows detection of stealth submarines by taking images of the submarine without the backscatter caused by water in front of it. It's one of the only technologies that can track supercavitating weapons underwater. It can also help see through many obscurants.

It's like a flashlight, except you only look at light reflected at a particular time after the flash ( usually a laser ) goes off. As a result, you can choose to see light that is only reflected from, say, 100m away to 101m away. Everything else looks dark and because of this, it's a good technology for seeing through trees and the likes.

If you want to understand gating of image tubes and streak tubes in particular ( what they use - an electronically steerable image intensifier that can track very high speed objects such as bullets being fired from a gun ) just look up Image Tubes by Illes P Csorba. A great book.

What they are doing here is just gating the image a little faster and repeating it often to capture very short duration repetative events in high detail. Not a new technology, just a variation on existing tech.

And you'll find many modern Gen3 NV devices are autogated, meaning they do this automatically, though it's more a way to pulse-width modulate the light coming in so that they can work under brighter conditions, such as when soldiers burst into a room and the enemy turns on the lights inside...

GrpA

Re:What (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354860)

thats pretty interesting. Is a possible countermeasure against this, parking your tank behind two nearly perpendicular mirrors so the beam path between the two mirrors is like 100 miles?

Or would parking your tank behind a mirror make the terrain behind the tank look just like the terrain in front of the tank, but backwards... that might be too easy to detect after all...

Re:What (4, Funny)

GrpA (691294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355246)

Yes, since it's "Active" illumination, you just detect from which direction the flash of light is coming from - though you need a very wideband detector since it could be anywhere on the spectrum and will almost certainly be infrared above 1000nm...

Then once you see the person aiming their "LIDAR" at you, you swivel the tank's gun and send some high-velocity non-photonic matter their way... Probably the most effective countermeasure.

Most of this technology uses very long wavelength ( around 1500nm ) light so that it's not going to be obvious what you're doing. It also tends to work over very long distances, eg, 10Km away... :) It's more used for detection and identification of enemy equipment at long range under conditions of darkness.

Even then I don't think it's all that common. Thermal is more practical for detection now and I imagine Lidar is special use only ( eg, when very high resolution images are required, when topological information is important or for underwater use ) -

GrpA

Re:What (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354962)

The O-scope you are describing is a sampling scope. Where the sample rate is very slow compared to the signal. The trigger point is moved and a repetitive signal (PRBS type or others) can be reconstructed. This type of sampling assumes that the channel parameters are virtually static. Digital Real-Time scopes exist (and have existed for a long time) that oversample (80+ Gigasamples/s) the signal and display an accurate representation of a single pulse.

Re:What (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354588)

they can actually see the movement of photons of light across a scene or object

...no.

Sure you can. I've seen the nuke test footage. I'm not talking about the stereotypical "wind gust front" but actual "light" output. The first few frames are classified and I have not seen them, because they show asymmetries that imply various things about internal construction, but once the fireball gets a couple feet across its pretty much perfectly spherical and that's the unclassified frames I've seen. If there were a useful way to search youtube / google / archive.org for a description like this, I'd give you a link to the actual movie. You can distinctly see the disk of light hit the ground and expand very rapidly circularly underneath the slowly growing fireball, well, slowly growing compared to the speed of light, anyway. There are not many frames to this "movie" probably synchronization of the cameras and the "bang" was harder back in the 50s. The footage is many decades old.

I believe the relevant part of the story is this might be the first "trillion fps" camera that isn't classified and is owned by "civilians"

Re:What (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355446)

I believe the relevant part of the story is this might be the first "trillion fps" camera that isn't classified and is owned by "civilians"

Streak cameras with picosecond resolution or below have been available off the shelf for decades. They were really expensive and are still pricey now, even if a lot cheaper. So not within the reach of most hobbyists, although still available to civilians with money or some salvaging luck.

I am not sure about being able to see an advancing light front off of nuclear test footage, at least in a 2D film instead of something like a 1D stream camera. By the 60s, I think the highest speed cameras were on the order of 10,000 fps, which means light would go about 30 km in one frame. Even with current technology, it would be difficult to have a full movie at such speeds of a single event, as the highest speed cameras are usually limited to some set number of frames before requiring some time to reset (something like 1-8 frames are common, although larger ones exist).

Re:What (1)

The Raven (30575) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355566)

This was not a single camera; what you're seeing is the images from 10 closely spaced cameras that were triggered at slightly different times. We could take very quick images in the 50's... we couldn't take a video. Video capture is new.

Re:What (2)

jdastrup (1075795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355758)

TFA says they are using 500 cameras (CCD's) to accomplish this task. And isn't video simply many still frames put together? So what's the difference?

Re:What (2)

Maddog Batty (112434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354760)

A succinct answer and basically correct.

My understanding of this is the clever part is the very short pulsed laser combined with a very short exposure camera. Each laser pulse send lots of photons together in a bunch across the field of view of the camera. Some clever camera synchronisation allows each "frame" taken by the camera to be slightly (pico seconds) later than the previous one. When run as a movie, this appears to show a light pulse as moves across the field of view.

However, it doesn't take a picture of a single photon - it takes pictures of a bunch of photons and neither does it take a movie of the same bunch of photons moving across the field of view - each frame is taken of a different laser pulse.

(for simplicity I've ignored the fact that the camera is a line scan camera rather than full frame camera)

Oblig. Futurama (paraphrased) (4, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354774)

Morbo: Photons do not work that way! Good night!

Seriously. You can't detect a photon unless it actually collides with the detector. So how do you detect movement of photons across a scene?

Re:Oblig. Futurama (paraphrased) (2)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355554)

So how do you detect movement of photons across a scene?

Well, you assume the photons expand out radially from the source, and therefore, watching the light propagate from left to right across your field of vision, you assume that the photos that hit your detector (such as your eyes), are roughly coplanar with the (majority of) photons that aren't hitting your detector.

You know, like what happens when you look at the beam coming out of a flashlight from the side.

(Remember: to make inferences, you must make assumptions. Your visual system makes inferences.)

It's just that, with fine-grained enough snapshots, you can see what the beam looks like before it has propagated across your entire field of vision.

Yes, quantum behavior of photons is complicated, but sometimes we overcomplicate it.

Re:Oblig. Futurama (paraphrased) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355628)

So how do you detect movement of photons across a scene?

Moving detectors! Duh..........

Wish to see? (2, Interesting)

unixcrab (1080985) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354408)

1. The electron beam scanning in a CRT. 2. Inside a cylinder of an internal combustion engine. 3. A lightning strike (too difficult maybe)

Re:Wish to see? (2)

Fahrvergnuugen (700293) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354578)

Re:Wish to see? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354698)

Amazing what you can do with strobe lights and timing.

Re:Wish to see? (4, Interesting)

Jaqenn (996058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354646)

Tim Samaras is a storm researcher who has captured lightning strikes at 10,000 frames per second:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyUsjsJ-E0c [youtube.com]

It's not 1,000,000,000,000 FPS, but it's still pretty cool.

Re:Wish to see? (3, Funny)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354956)

10,000 FPS should be enough for anyone.

Re:Wish to see? (1)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355268)

24 is....

They can see a photon??? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354424)

I really, really doubt they can see a photon...

Re:They can see a photon??? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354510)

At least now without altering the results.

Re:They can see a photon??? (2)

GrpA (691294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354660)

Nope, they can actually visualise a single photon if the gain is sufficient, eg, Super Inverter Image Intensifier ( also known as Gen3+1 ) - Typical photonic gain levels of around 300,000x -

Neat huh?

Of course, that's assuming the photon is converted into a photoelectron by the photocathode, which depends on the QE ( Quantum Efficiency ) of the photocathode material.. And assuming the photon isn't lost in any AlO films inside the device... Then yes, they can actually see individual photons.

They can count photons too with photomultipliers, but image intensifiers will let you put them into an image... :)

GrpA

Re:They can see a photon??? (1)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354628)

You can "see" a photon, although the act of "seeing" it destroys it. You can, however, definitely NOT "observe" a photon. Ever.

Re:They can see a photon??? (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355702)

Actually there's an equivalent of the uncertainty principle for photons. Since we know their speed is c, the quantities we can know one or the other (or a probabilistic mix thereof) are not speed and position, but rather [wikipedia.org] :

"The analogous uncertainty principle for photons forbids the simultaneous measurement of the number n of photons (see Fock state and the Second quantization section below) in an electromagnetic wave and the phase of that wave" ...so it is arguable that destroying one photon worth of coherent light counts as an "observation", since there's no distinguishing of one photon from another within the coherent packet.

Re:They can see a photon??? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354664)

I really, really doubt they can see a photon...

If not photons, what are you using to see? The "photons moving across the scene" doesn't mean you see one moving from A to B, it means you see one presumably came from A because it was a pitch black room, hits B, bounces off and hits yer eye or camera. There is some geometrical / trig foolishness to correct the actual speed, but to the simplest approximation if you suddenly turn on a light at A, the position of B moves away around the speed of light. (Bonus points for calculating how fast imaginary construct point B moves when a beam of light hits a nearly perpendicular mirror "warp speed" here we come)

i'd be dead before that water balloon pops (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354426)

played back at 24fps, it would take over 1,000 years to watch 1 second of video captured at 1,000,000,000,000fps.

Re:i'd be dead before that water balloon pops (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354466)

If my math is right, light travels a little over 1/100th of an inch (or a little under 0.3 mm) per frame.

Re:i'd be dead before that water balloon pops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354498)

That's correct. And that's roughly the speed that the light wave appeared to be travelling across the scene in the linked video.

Re:i'd be dead before that water balloon pops (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354506)

The problem is that photons ARE light, and the camera CONSUMES them by seeing them.

You can never see the same photon twice. The act of seeing absorbs it.

Re:i'd be dead before that water balloon pops (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354566)

My blind = mown.

Re:i'd be dead before that water balloon pops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355028)

Right. The camera works by using very short, identical pulses of photons and taking a very short exposure at a different time for each pulse.

Then they collate all the images they took according to their timestamp (assuming the pulse generation time is t=0), and produce a video - which looks like it is tracking the motion of a single continuous pulse (because each pulse is effectively identical), even though there's a different pulse for each frame.

Re:i'd be dead before that water balloon pops (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355720)

Right, dude. Just how when you smell something, you consume molecules from it through your nose.

Therefore, you never smell the same molecule twice.

Therefore, you destroy every rose you smell.

Er ... yeah, maybe we need to not get ahead of ourselves.

Re:i'd be dead before that water balloon pops (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354622)

Granted however if you run algorithms that will correctly motion blur each image. you will be able to view things at mostly any speed you want and not have it seem choppy.

I am happy to see technology getting to a point where improvements in some areas have become impractical as they are surpassing our ability to observe them.
Just like how the Now High resolution displays are getting to a point we no longer need to get any higher (We need to get a bit higher so we cannot see a pixel attached to a display on a contact lens) . Once we get computing to exceed our physical limitations improvements in system will then shift to focus on other areas that needs improvements. Part of the reason why PC don't seem to go any faster is the fact you were happy with windows at 600x480 display back in the day. Now anything less then 1024x768 is insane. And you should be higher then that. So that is more pixels on your screen that needs memory and processing power (now offloaded to the video card mostly) but still a lot of processing in terms of percentages goes to your interface. As we exceed our physical limitations processing will go to faster applications and processing of data and less to keeping up with the user experience.

Re:i'd be dead before that water balloon pops (4, Informative)

GrpA (691294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354674)

They are talking about shutter rates, not image capture rates... Big difference.

It probably has quite a slow frame rate.

GrpA

I could use this at work... (4, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354438)

I love the whooshing sound deadlines make as they fly by, maybe this will slow them down enough to see what they look like too!

Hmmm (5, Funny)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354448)

What would you like to see slowed down to such a degree?

Hint: It involves a trampoline, or maybe a wet tshirt...

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354490)

or both.

LMGTFY. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354620)

I love the Internet. [dailymotion.com]

Re:Hmmm (3, Informative)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354788)

You realize that at a picosecond frame rate it would take about a year of watching at 30 frames per second to actually see any motion of a person on a trampoline at all, and maybe a century to observe an single bounce ?

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354888)

You realize that at a picosecond frame rate it would take about a year of watching at 30 frames per second to actually see any motion of a person on a trampoline at all, and maybe a century to observe an single bounce ?

Congratulations, sir, you are a sexless Slashdot nerd.

Re:Hmmm (2)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355008)

Relying on Slashdot for sexual gratification is worse than relying on Slashdot for legal advice, and that's saying something.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354902)

It's only a matter of time before this tech is applied to ye olde cum shot.

Mirrors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354460)

Mirror inside mirror would be cool.

Bullshit detector goes beep (2, Insightful)

tpotus (1856224) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354470)

I watched the video and can only conclude that it doesn't make any sense at all. Slow motion video of a moving photon? Give me a break.

Re:Bullshit detector goes beep (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354530)

You don't get it. What you see are the photons deflected by the air off of their original path. When the light is in the middle of the bottle it has actually already exited it. The cameras capture the deflected photons. In a perfect vacuum you would not be able to see anything.

Re:Bullshit detector goes beep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354640)

In a perfect vacuum you would not be able to see anything.

Why not? Light is scattered by the object's surface, not the medium/air. Perfect vacuum would produce similar results.

Re:Bullshit detector goes beep (2)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354832)

I think they mean that in a perfect vacuum, there would be nothing in the bottle and thus nothing to scatter.

Re:Bullshit detector goes beep (1)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354546)

Exactly. How do you see a photon?

Re:Bullshit detector goes beep (1)

root_42 (103434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354730)

The FAQ on Rashkar's website (http://web.media.mit.edu/~raskar/trillionfps/) gives a good explanation. The whole thing is a repeated measurement process, with accurately timed recordings of the detector. The explanations and PR are (sadly) typical for SIGGRAPH papers nowadays. It's a bit of bullshit, you never "see" a photon flying through the scene. For this to happen, another photon would have to interact (reflect) off of this moving photon and be recorded by your camera.

Still, this method is quite interesting to visualize the propagation of spherical light wave fronts through a static scene. However, what I was missing was the imaging of reflected light, as it bounces through the scene. That would truly be educational. I could only make out the sampled pulse moving and intersecting the different objects in the scene.

Re:Bullshit detector goes beep (3, Informative)

GrpA (691294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354734)

Well I could just say "With your eyes" but I figure the question is "How do you see a single photon?"

You amplify it by converting it to a photoelectron with a very sensitive photocathode, then you add more electrons through either linear acceleration and multiple electron/photon stages or with a MicroChannel Plate ( MCP ) which causes secondary electrons to multiply the number of electrons, then you accelerate it over a short distance to around 5,000 to 10,000 eV and then smack it into a aluminized phosphor screen, which converts the electrons back to photons, but a HEAP of them so they are visible.

They can also focus and steer the electrons inside the tube. That's why it's called a "streak tube"... :)

I have seen photons many times. Kind of cool seeing a picture made from just a few photons, but it has to be REALLY dark to do this and you have to get your own eyes accustomed to the dark as well. The pictures sometimes just look like static until you collect a whole heap of them in a timed exposure.

When you amplify light about 100,000 times and then take a 15 second exposure and it *still* looks dark, you know the original image was exceptionally dark.

GrpA

Re:Bullshit detector goes beep (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354744)

Exactly. How do you see a photon?

If its high enough energy / high enough freq / low enough wavelength we call it a gamma particle and you watch ionized air particles it left behind as it passes thru.

Thats kinda abstract because we're not looking at "it" but more what it did to the air as it wooshed by.

Maybe a closer example would be cerenkov radiation, essentially a visual sonic boom as one goes thru something with a lower speed of light (some plastics have a really low speed of light, which makes them pretty good lens material). I guess if you make a plastic scintilator type of thingy with a continuously changing refractive index so the particle continuously emits cerenkov radiation then you could kinda argue you're seeing "it", although we're destroying it in the process of seeing it so...

Cerenkov radiation is what leads to 2nd order BS WRT the color of radiation. Comic books trained kids radioactive stuff glows green, thats the 1st order BS. Actually visiting a test or experimental reactor quickly trains them to the 2nd order BS that radiation is blue (inspiration for star trek tng engines, I guess). Trust me, neutrons, by themselves, are not actually green or blue.

Re:Bullshit detector goes beep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355066)

Awww...for a second there I got excited that MIT Media Lab had finally broke out of it's track record of lame "breakthroughs".
Such revolutionary developments as 'air musical instruments' for kids that cost more than real instruments and performs worse.
Or how about printing random items in a 3D printer that cost more and performs worse than properly constructed products....
But I still have faith that one day the MIT Media Lab would be viewed at as something other than a black hole of waste, staffed by washed up wannabes.

How do you see a photon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355280)

Where's +1 Funny where you need it?

Re:Bullshit detector goes beep (1)

yerpo (1370359) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354594)

Watching the video, I can conclude that the summary above is wrong. What this system actually does, is to take repeated pictures of repeated pulses of light, each delayed by a very tiny fraction of a second. So no, it doesn't take a trillion frames per second any more than a regular high-speed camera.

Re:Bullshit detector goes beep (5, Informative)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354694)

It sounds like they aren't actually capturing 1T fps in real time. They are simulating it by capturing identical scenes at very slightly different intervals. Sort of a wagon wheel effect, or that effect that made the rounds a couple of months ago where they "captured" the movement of guitar strings. Take a machine gun that fires bullets once per second. Take a camera that takes photographs every 1.000000001 seconds. Fire a trillion bullets and take a trillion photographs. Each photograph will show a different bullet, one trillionth of a second further along the path. If you play them back, it looks like a single bullet going really slow.

Re:Bullshit detector goes beep (1)

dmatos (232892) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354886)

In order to resolve spatial location of the light pulse, at the very least they need to have a sensor with a response time on the order of 1ps. Being able to control the exposure time accurately with ps resolution is also a pretty incredible feat.

They have definitely admitted that they're not capturing the entire 2-d image at 1T fps. They might be capturing a 500-pix line at 1THz line rate, but that's unclear in the article and the video.

Re:Bullshit detector goes beep (3, Informative)

dmatos (232892) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354926)

Ah. Further reading at the MIT site indicates that they are reading at "1THz line rate". They use a varying electric field inside the camera slit to deflect the photons by different amounts onto a 2-D image sensor. Thus, on the sensor, the x-direction contains spatial information, and the y-direction contains temporal information.

They can do this by sweeping the strength of the electric field inside the streak camera's slit quickly. Photons arriving at different times are deflected by different amounts, and thus hit different pixels in the 2-D sensor behind the slit.

A wall street broker or politician having an unsel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354482)

The sheer preciousness of it would be too amazing to behold

No excuses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354484)

With that high of framerate, now they have no excuses when they get fragged over and over. Can't dodge the rockets? It's not your machine.

Cue the $6M man theme sound (2)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354516)

Each movie that camera makes is dubbed with the sound of Steve Austin running [youtube.com] for dramatic effect.

How soon until it's in my Droid? (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354526)

I'm sure somebody is going to shrink it so it can fit in my phone.

Slashdot Story Misses the More Exciting Point (5, Informative)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354544)

This grew out of a system to see around corners. The professor wanted to build a camera that could analyze the path of reflected light to get pictures around ninety degree angles. This is a really amazing concept, moreso than simply getting a camera to take ever increasingly fast pictures.

if you are interested in learning more and have a lecture's worth of time on your hand, please check one out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKu20y1f_RU [youtube.com]

Re:Slashdot Story Misses the More Exciting Point (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354706)

What IS really cool about this is that they have visualized light echos.

Re:Slashdot Story Misses the More Exciting Point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354806)

I know this girl that... I mean, YES, I'm interested in this technology you talk about.

Re:Slashdot Story Misses the More Exciting Point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354810)

Seeing around corners and through bushes is SIGGRAPH 2000 tech. A trillion FPS camera is new.

Re:Slashdot Story Misses the More Exciting Point (1)

RandCraw (1047302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355410)

More info here:
        http://web.media.mit.edu/~raskar//trillionfps/ [mit.edu]

The work is based on 'streak camera' technology, which measures the change in the flow of a stream of photons. Raskar is extending the work from 1D to 2D and adding multi-point reflectance data to infer the 3D shape of objects that are otherwise occluded from view.

Clearly the image's spatial resolution will be limited by the smoothness of the reflected surface, the rate of motion of the target, additional noise sources (e.g. ambient light), perhaps even variations in temperature in the air (refractive noise), etc

AFAIK, all streak cameras are currently used only in very structured environments (particle accelerators, flow mass spectrometers, etc). The prospect of using a streak camera to render 2D objects is ambitious. Doing so in an unstructured setting like the battlefield (where do you think his funding is coming from?) is implausible. The prospect of combining such technology with computational photography techniques to practically 'look around corners' degenerates to hopeless hyperbole.

IMHO, the MIT Media Lab's reality distortion field is alive and well.

Stacey Solomon (1)

Denver_G (253468) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354556)

Maybe we could actually understand Stacey Solomon (UK semi celebrity) if slowed down this much!

Slow no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354564)

Nice breakthrough. I've been turned down by the opposite geneder so quickly for so long perhaps scientists can register the moment. I was previously dismayed that CERN might show I was turned down before I asked.

Streak cameras (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354584)

Streak cameras have been around for decades. They take a one dimensional source of light, and sweep it across a 2D detector very quickly so that the second dimension gives you the time resolution much shorter than the exposure time used by the sensor. Streak cameras with time resolution in picoseconds is pretty common, and many have sub-picosecond resolution. The problem is that once the a light source is swept across the camera, you are limited by the time it takes to read and reset the sensor before you can repeat the process, giving you the same repetition rate as high speed 2D cameras. So you might have 100 fs time resolution, but it would be one dimensional, and only last for 100 ps, before having to wait a few microseconds to milliseconds to take another image (there are some tricks to get two images given one sensor before reading it, and some high end cameras will just have multiple sensors in parallel to get faster successive images).

The novelty here seems not to be the camera, but the use of a laser for illumination and the stitching of many 1D images taken over an hour or so together into one 2D image.

Re:Streak cameras (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355186)

Isn't that basically what photo-finish cameras for horse races and athletic events do? Those have indeed been around a long time.

Baywatch (2)

gaelfx (1111115) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354592)

Any time there is any advancement in the field of slow motion video capture, the only answer is Baywatch.

Re:Baywatch (1)

cod3r_ (2031620) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355634)

lots of the best ideas start with baywatch

*sigh* (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354596)

I don't know why they try to make these discoveries accessible to the layman. They can't explain it right, the ignorant can't understand it right and the expert facepalms before the masses while they diminish an amazing creation solely because it does not do what they think it should do even though they don't know what the hell it really does.

Porn (1)

cod3r_ (2031620) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354636)

the only use for this.

Matrix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354682)

Matrix 4: Everything in bullet time!

i'd like to see light filling a room slowed down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354714)

thats what i'd like to see

Light is about it (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354720)

The current camera only does one line of a frame at a time and uses repeated laser pulses to synthesize a movie, but suppose that they upgrade this camera so that it can take a full frame in a picosecond (it's only engineering !). There is not much besides light (or a beam of high energy particles) that actually changes much in a picosecond - or even in a nanosecond (~ 1000 frames, or 30 seconds at 30 fps).

In 1 picosecond the ISS moves about 80 angstroms, or ~8 micro meters in 1 nanosecond. A bullet is considerably slower, as is a chemical explosion. The only thing else that I know of that changes much in a nanosecond is a nuclear explosion, and I bet that has already been imaged at the picosecond level, not that we are likely to see the films.

Re:Light is about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355230)

Making nuclear fusion into a viable energy source is only engineering too :)

Great.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354756)

Welcome to the world of tomorrow.....now wheres my hyper porn?

Data Throughput (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354798)

at what resolution would the throughput of data collected (and being recorded, even if to buffers) exceed the throughput of data collected?

After all, we *are* talking about splitting the SPEED OF LIGHT.

No idea what to use it for (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354818)

But you can bet the Mythbusters are going to want one. You know, for science.

Time to watch (4, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354932)

Times, at 30 fps, to watch

- a lightning strike move 1 meter : ~ 1 week
- one bullet streak by Neo's head : ~ 100 days
- one boob bounce on Baywatch : ~ 1 century

Better bring lots of popcorn.

Summary misses the camera's use-case: Chemistry (2)

gentryx (759438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354994)

The real use-case for the camera is not to watch at coke bottles at super slo-mo, but to investigate how molecules absorb light of different wave-lengths. There is a real scientific need for this camera. And of course, as mentioned earlier, it can't trace individual photons.

ps: needless to say that I did like my own summary [slashdot.org] much better (for being informative), but that may just be me.

Things happen this fast only on the nano-scale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355002)

I would be fun to see the functioning of the cell: Protein folding, RNA polymerase, the ribosome, molecular motors, virus attacking the membrane of a cell, etc.

What would you like to see slowed down? (1)

Keyslapper (852034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355018)

"What would you like to see slowed down to such a degree?"

My 5 year old. I might be able to keep up with him that way ...

Things I'd like to see... (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355098)

- Match light at uber slow speed.
- Bullet impact
- The internals of a cell working
- A plant photosynthesizing

Clear Explaination (1)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355118)

Here is my take of what is going on.

They want to take a movie on how a light travels through a scene. Just like watching waves in a wave tank.

Here is how they do it.
The fire a laser pulse into a scene.
Then after a certain amount of time in the picoseconds they record the image with a line sensor.
This only records one horizontal line of information
Repeat with a slightly longer delay.
Continue until the light is no longer in the scene.
Rotate a mirror in order to record the next horizontal line in the scene and repeat the above.

Finally combine all of the recorded lines with the same delay into a picture and combine the pictures at different delays into a movie.

So this isn't a high speed camera in the sense that could slow down a physical event like a bullet firing or explosion. It is more like doing stop motion photography.

I wanna see... (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355174)

What would you like to see slowed down to such a degree?

Bay Watch running sequences.

Re:I wanna see... (1)

AaronLS (1804210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355578)

I guess it'd be a little like watching grass grow.

congress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355474)

When the congress passes bills or such- to slow everything down down so you can see all the minute earmarking and other taxpayers b**t f**ks.

What would you like to see slowed down ? (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355476)

The exit of money from my bank account...

How do you watch a photon? (1)

AaronLS (1804210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355522)

If a photon hasn't struck your "camera" how do you watch it move across your field of view? I didn't see anything in the article that indicated that had a way to watch photons that are passing through your field of view but do not impact the sensor array.

"The laser pulses, with very complex timing circuitry, are then picked up by an array of 500 sensors in the camera"

This means the camera is acting just as any other camera would. It has a surface that reacts to photons impacting on it as the result of reflected laser pulses. This how our eyes work and any other camera. So there is nothing here that indicates you can somehow watch a photon passing through your field of view.

I recommend one look, and then one more... (1)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355776)

...at the YouTube video. At the moment you realize what actually is going on here ( you *SEE* a wave front travelling over or through an object ), you gawk and think "how godawfully beautiful". I mean: wow.

Super slow-mo, eh? (1)

kno3 (1327725) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355860)

What would you like to see slowed down to such a degree?

My maths lectures.

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