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JAXA Creates Camera That Can See Radiation

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the predator-mecha-are-next dept.

Japan 49

New submitter Ben_R_R writes "The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has created a camera that can 'see' radioactive contamination by detecting gamma rays emitted by radioactive cesium and other substances. The camera has been tested in the disaster evacuation zone around Fukushima. The image captures levels of radiation in six different colors and overlays the result over an image captured with a wide angle lens."

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Fallout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39532533)

Fallout just mated with splinter cell

Where is the data? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39532587)

So where is the data on how accurate it actually is? How does it work???

For example, this is informative.

http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/features/exhibit/glast_exhibit.html [nasa.gov]

TFA about this device is useless.

Re:Where is the data? (4, Interesting)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532699)

I was wondering the same.

Detecting gamma rays is pretty easy. Detecting within a few degrees which direction they came from is much harder. Lenses and mirrors won't work (at least, at any reasonable scale) to form an image. You could have two layers of detector, and measure the location of the gamma ray as it passes through both. You could look for Compton scattered electrons from the gamma ray, which would be easier to determine the direction of, but I don't think that would fit in something camera sized.

I'm also curious to know what exposure time the gamma ray camera needs - I'm guessing it will be pretty long - minutes, at least, maybe hours.

Re:Where is the data? (5, Informative)

mocm (141920) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532755)

I saw the camera on NHK World and it is not what you may think is camera sized. It is a big cube with about 1 m sides. It also includes a small optical camera, so that you get a composite of the visual picture and the gamma radiation distribution. It is supposed to be used to check the buildings in contaminated areas and see where the radioaktive material is located.

Re:Where is the data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39532869)

What's wrong with stacking multiple layers of deep well ccd's?

Re:Where is the data? (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#39533243)

What's wrong with stacking multiple layers of deep well ccd's?

Off the top of my head, I have the following questions:

  • would you reliably get multiple interactions?
  • would the first interaction not change the path of the gamma ray (see my other post [slashdot.org] below)
  • would coincidental interactions with two gamma rays not sometimes look like a single ray?
  • how would you tell the energy and other similar parameters?

Re:Where is the data? (1)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 2 years ago | (#39533301)

On any given interaction, you might have a problem. But, what if you averaged over a large period of time? Sure, the resulting image may be blurry, but a blurry photo is better than no photo. It's not as if you're trying to read text written in radioactive cesium ink. You just want to know "That corner's hot, this corner's not."

Search for PET Scanner... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39535809)

Those take detailed pictures of a patients innards. :)

Determining what isotopes are present is pretty easy, too.

Computing power and time are the big problems.

Of course, the more radioactive it is, the easier and quicker it is to image. :) But I'm not running the camera, lol.

I'm going to show this to my boss tomorrow; I tried to patent this when the reactor blew... :)

Yes, I'll be posting anon.

Re:Where is the data? (1)

Old Wolf (56093) | more than 2 years ago | (#39537623)

You could have two layers of detector, and measure the location of the gamma ray as it passes through both.

Photons don't work like this; if you measure its position at one point then its momentum is undefined. (In classical terms, one would say that the photon interacts with the first detector, e.g. gets diffracted)

Re:Where is the data? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549033)

Detecting gamma rays is pretty easy. Detecting within a few degrees which direction they came from is much harder. Lenses and mirrors won't work (at least, at any reasonable scale) to form an image.

Well, the obvious solution to how it works is light-field imaging. To which you may have heard of the Lytro camera that allows one to take pictures and refocus them later. A light-field camera takes not only the intensity of the light hitting it, but also direction (allowing for refocusing).

Since a gamma ray is just another form of EM radiation (ionizing, though), the camera would basically be a more advanced form of it. The technology to image it exists today.

Re:Where is the data? (5, Informative)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532999)

This gamma ray camera from the same institute [kyoto-u.ac.jp] may be something related? It seems to use Scintilation from a dislocated electron (which gives away path and energy) combined with the point of impact of the gamma ray on a detector plate.

Re:Where is the data? (1)

Viadd (173388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39538923)

There are two main imaging techniques that work in moderate-energy gamma-rays: Coded Aperture [nasa.gov] which use a shadow mask; and Compton Imaging [stanford.edu] .

According to this article [enformable.com] the camera uses Compton Imaging. In this technique you look at gamma rays that scatter off of one detector and into another. Each detector tells you where the interaction occurred and how much energy was deposited. From this information, you can derive for each gamma ray that it came from somewhere on a hollow cone (with its tip at the first interaction point.) If you detect many gamma rays you can look at where the cones intersect, and that's where the gammas are coming from.

The topic is funny (2, Insightful)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532633)

When I readed the topic, I just tought "Oh, someone invented Camera what can see light, AMAZING!"
Of course I know it was only about ionizing radiation and not just anykind radiation like visible light.

to take the quibbling one step further... (1)

steve.cri (2593117) | more than 2 years ago | (#39533029)

... I am more suprised by the fact that they made a camera that can "see" at all. Mine doesn't, it just stores digitized pictures on a memory card.

Re:The topic is funny (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39533073)

I'm pretty sure that I remember radiation from nuclear decay being discovered because it fogged photographic film, so the idea of a camera that detects it is not exactly novel. Presumably the real news is the sensitivity - being able to detect a lump of uranium by putting a photographic plate next to it for 12 hours is not nearly as useful as having it show up when you take a quick picture.

Re:The topic is funny (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39533573)

Detecting the radiation is trivial. Even any old digital camera sensor can do that. The trick is detecting where it came from. A regular camera uses a lens to accomplish this. However, lenses don't work on gamma rays.

Re:This post is funnier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39535301)

When I readed this response, I just thought "Oh, someone drinked the good stuff last night, HILARIOUS!"
Of course I know it was only about grammatical correctness and the potential that English wasn't the primary language that made my laughing not seem right.

Not a surprise (0, Redundant)

Rollgunner (630808) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532647)

I'm pretty sure *every* camera I've ever used could see radiation... In the visible spectrum anyways.

Back in the stone age of wet photography, it wasn't all that difficult to take pictures of IR or UV, either, come to think of it. Either by accident or design.

On the serious side, I imagine it was a technical hurdle to manage to filter a CCD in such a way that it could capture useful information from various highly energetic particles hitting it without it being degraded or destroyed in the process.

Re:Not a surprise (4, Interesting)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532659)

Usually, you just put a scintillating crystal, e.g. thallium-doped sodium iodide, in front of your detector. Gamma photon hits crystal, crystal emits photon in the visual range, photomultiplier detects visual photon. TFA is somewhat silent on how this differs from your run of the mill gamma camera which has been known for half a century by now.

Re:Not a surprise (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39532683)

The big difference is that a scintillator or geiger tube is equivalent to a simple eye that just detects light levels. That can't be used to create a usable image. I suspect they have something like an insectoid compound eye going on.

Re:Not a surprise (1)

chihowa (366380) | more than 2 years ago | (#39534673)

The big difference is that a scintillator or geiger tube is equivalent to a simple eye that just detects light levels. That can't be used to create a usable image. I suspect they have something like an insectoid compound eye going on.

Or just put a lead collimator in front of a scintillator film on top of a CCD. Bingo, instant gamma camera. I've been doing this for years for SPECT imaging.

Re:Not a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39540417)

Could you use that to image a room?

Pics or it didn't happen!

Re:Not a surprise (1)

hankwang (413283) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532747)

Detecting gamma rays on a flat sensor is one thing. But how do you actually image gamma rays? You cannot use a lens or curved mirror. A cursory check on google/Wikipedia does not answer this. I can only think of a pinhole camera, which is very inefficient and would have to deal with radiation passing through the supposedly opaque walls.

Re:Not a surprise (2)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532919)

Scintigraphy is not only used for mere detection, but is in routine clinical use for imaging. You can go the pinhole route, but usually go with a movable collimator and movable detector, scanning the image. Now, if those guys have something that can snap a picture just like an optical camera, that would be interesting - but TFA is unfortunately silent on the details.

Re:Not a surprise (1)

JazzHarper (745403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39533155)

My brother helped develop a pinhole scintillation camera in conjunction with Bendix in Ann Arbor in 1971. First application was thyroid imaging. Exposure times were rather long. They were also working on tomography software... on a PDP-11.

Re:Not a surprise (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#39533245)

As far as I know, the pinhole technique never made a breakthrough. Epic part of one's biography, though - especially coding image reconstruction on a PDP-11. That's hacking for real men, isn't it?

Re:Not a surprise (1)

BrentH (1154987) | more than 2 years ago | (#39533007)

Property of these crystal detectors is that they give you zero directional information, essential in a device named 'camera' I'd say. The geometry of the casing helps you slightly, but I suppose the JAXA folks figured out an altogether new way of imaging.

Re:Not a surprise (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#39533027)

Yeah, the detector is non-directional. That's why you use a collimator and scan the object by moving the collimator and the camera. Leads to long exposure times and an unwieldy mechanical setup - I'd be interested if they solved it differently, too. They did leave out the interesting parts in TFA, though.

the, er, fallout from this (4, Funny)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532667)

Oh great, now we're going to be overwhelmed with Japanese tourists taking pictures of radioactive things!

Shot 1: Dad and the kids smiling at camera and glowing in dark.

Shot 2: Look! Our Toyota doesn't need headlights!

Shot 3. Mr. Fujimoto and his radioactive shoes!

Shot 4. Godzilla. No, really, Godzilla. Run!

Re:the, er, fallout from this (2)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532977)

Oh great, now we're going to be overwhelmed with Japanese tourists taking pictures of radioactive things!

Great scene; but it's really funny how the "Japanese tourist" meme has so much died out. We're all Japanese tourists now, with the average teenage girl much more intrusive than they ever were (I never remember a Japanse tourist who wasn't really careful not to get in the way with his camera...the main problem was always the way the waited politely for everybody to be gone making you feel a bit rude for walking through the scene.. ). It's really amazing how they were so much fore runners of modern "western" society (think music players; mobile internet; simple plain furniture etc.). I wonder how many other examples there are like this that we never spot.

Re:the, er, fallout from this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39540465)

It's really amazing how they were so much fore runners of modern "western" society (think music players; mobile internet; simple plain furniture etc.).

I really hope the finger in the butt game and reading your fortune from the inside of your butt never make it anywhere else.

Re:the, er, fallout from this (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39534981)

Poor headline, since I immediately thought:...camera sees radiation...meh...don't all cameras see electromagnetic radiation?...usually in the visible range?

Resolution and effectiveness? (1)

bdabautcb (1040566) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532717)

The article doesn't discuss how this will be implemented. Are they taking overhead shots of Fukushima to see where there is still leakage? I am not a radiation expert, but I don't understand how this would be more effective than a geiger counter. If anybody has any insight I would gladly read a response or any links to some more information.

Re:Resolution and effectiveness? (4, Informative)

nomel (244635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39532879)

Geiger counters tell you if there's radiation at the counters sensor. This lets you measure/see where the radiation is coming from.

Duh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39533051)

The only thing any camera sees is radiation. The articles title is /. unwurthy.

Necessity is the mother of Invention. (1)

Shag (3737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39533231)

The Japanese are being resourceful and inventive in the face of horrible circumstances, and have come up with something great.

I am, however, still curious what necessitated the invention of certain TV game shows, the "chewing chewing chewing" song, and anime tentacle monsters.

Better pictures and video here (3, Informative)

gr7 (933549) | more than 2 years ago | (#39533527)

On one picture you can see how the visual image and the gamma radiation agree at the corner of a wall. You can see that the radiation spot turns 90 degrees with the bottom edge of the wall and how the radioactive materials kind of puddled near the bottom of the wall. It's cool to see that the two images agree.

Also there is video of the actual camera which is pretty big and not so portable. You probably want to keep it in a car most of the time.

http://www.japanprobe.com/2012/03/30/camera-can-see-radiation/ [japanprobe.com]

Re:Better pictures and video here (1)

Kyusaku Natsume (1098) | more than 2 years ago | (#39534687)

Very nice link. The camera appears to have a volume of around 60 liters so even if it isn't as portable as a point and shoot camera, is small enough to be easily deployed in the contaminated area. Maybe this research is related to this other news, that the japanese government will make a review of of the evacuation area in 3 municipalities in Fukushima [mainichi.jp]

Re:Better pictures and video here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39535243)

Just a quick note: For all of you hesitant to click on a website named "Japan Probe" - it's OK. No tentacles.

Tricorder (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39533557)

One more sensor to add....

Re:Tricorder (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39534223)

I was thinking "IronMan-style head-up display".

do it better yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39533945)

The Japanese are faced with some serious freaking radiation problems. In response to these challenges, they are inventing and improvising in order to try to save lives. "Show me the data"? GTFO. Get up off your lazy @$$ and help, or shut up. Seriously. If you know how to do it better, build and sell them. There's a market. You want data? Go make some. The Japanese don't have time or resources to do it for you.

Probably some of the same morons who look at a homeless man's tent and point out that cardboard isn't the optimal building material.

Re:do it better yourself (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39534233)

... homeless man's tent and point out that cardboard isn't the optimal building material

But it isn't! They should be using coroplast!

Google atomic Car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39534141)

That would be cool, especially if they do that all over the world. Might have surprises.

Original article has more details (3, Informative)

mattr (78516) | more than 2 years ago | (#39534785)

The English article edited out some information that was in the Japanese article.

Currently it doesn't tell you the precise amount of radiation being emitted but you get an idea of the highs and lows from it.

The technology that was developed for a detector installed in Japan's next-generation astronomical observatory satellite, the Astro H, to observe gamma ray bursts caused by astronomical events such as old stars exploding into supernovae. JAXA's Professor Tadayuki Takahashi who developed it says, "I want to aim at making this a practical tool quickly." And here is the Prof. Takahashi's cool page [isas.jaxa.jp] and Japanese version [isas.jaxa.jp] which shows news items too.

You will find several English papers on his work by Google: "High-Resolution CdTe Detectors and Application to Gamma-Ray Imaging"

Finally there are links from the Japanese page to a lot of detailed info about the gamma ray camera, though in Japanese there are PDFs including with photos of the supermarket experiment: here [www.jaxa.jp] ,pdf 1 [www.jaxa.jp] . pdf2 [www.jaxa.jp] , here [isas.jaxa.jp] .

Expect surge in banana photo popularity (1)

Fry-kun (619632) | more than 2 years ago | (#39535429)

If this becomes commercially available... and if Cavendish survives that long

*yawn* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39535595)

and we still can't tell the difference between large quantities of HEU (uranium) or HEP (plutonium) and kitty liter, even from a few feet away.

Check the date (1)

MadRat (774297) | more than 2 years ago | (#39536555)

Sounds like an April Fools joke a day early for many of us.
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