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World's Fastest Camera Captures 4.4 Trillion Frames Per Second

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the greased-lightning dept.

Technology 94

Diggester writes Japanese researchers have recently designed a motion picture camera which is capable of capturing 4.4 trillion frames per second, making it the fastest camera in the world. The technique that allows for such speed is called STAMP (sequentially timed all-optical mapping photography). The research paper, published in the journal Nature Photonics has the full details.

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Four times faster than existing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47674423)

TFArticle doesn't explain the "pumping" very well at all but 4 times faster is 4 times better. So.. any ideas? Femtopr0n? What are we going to see that we couldn't before?

Re:Four times faster than existing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47674491)

ghosts!

Re:Four times faster than existing. (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47674493)

What are we going to see that we couldn't before?

Audio vibrations in a potato chip bag perhaps? Just saying...

Re:Four times faster than existing. (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 months ago | (#47676191)

audio? you'd need 44 trillion samples/s for capturing audio?

I suppose you could sell it to audiophiles for inspecting their equipment though still..

Re:Four times faster than existing. (1)

MakerDusk (2712435) | about 2 months ago | (#47686565)

Yes, it would be fairly useful for inspections in science and engineering: a way to measure precision, as well as observe rapid chemical reactions. Speaking of rapid chemical reactions, I wouldn't mind seeing a mythbuster style explosion that slow.

Re:Four times faster than existing. (1)

silent-listener (3457453) | about 2 months ago | (#47683215)

The audio vibration in a chip bag was a nice example of high speed pictures and software using this pictures to filter out unseen movements. They work with a speed up to 6000 fps. With higher high speed we can understand / tackle hopeful vibration in constructions and machinery, as combustion engines and air planes.

Re:Four times faster than existing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47674957)

To whomever it may concern,

It's still not fast enough for speed of gravity measurements in the lab. As in having a feather weight ball under a microscope, with a huge iridium ball, say 2 meter or yards diameter, suddenly towed out of the lab via a huge shaft via an explosion outside the lab, and watching how long it takes before the featherweight ball under the microscope notices it. Unlike with light, that we can propagate for miles and back with mirrors, we don't really know if gravity waves exist or how to mirror and reflect them around, so you have to use the 1/r^2 law, and then the closer you are, the bigger the interaction. You can't really measure the speed of gravity from astronomical objects that are very far away - as even the Sun's attraction barely has tide forces that pull my hair and me upwards a bit - it's got to be done in the lab where the r^2 is very small, so the 1/r^2 interaction is huge, the smallness limit imposed by the maximum local mass density available, which is iridium or osmium at 22.4 specific gravity. We need even faster cameras, don't we, to synchronously capture images of the big ball getting yanked out of the lab, and the little one under the microscope noticing the effect, being tied to some very small spring, that's able to pull it once the balancing gravity is gone. Of course one has to keep in mind the propagation speed of light for the camera, then the electric signals in the instruments, and the synchronization accuracy between two cameras, one watching the microscope, one the big ball, or even if the microscope image is projected right onto the same screen of the same camera, that image's propagation time, especially if gravity is 10^5 or so faster than light, but even if we could prove that it's at least twice as fast as light, or infinity, the more than twice as fast would be an interesting bit of information to know.

Slashdot only allows a user with your karma to post 25 times per day (more or less, depending on moderation), so posting as Anonymous Coward instead of Slashdot user sillybilly,

Yours Truly, &c,
sillybilly
MMXIV AD,
August XIV

Re:Four times faster than existing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47674983)

To whomever it may concern,

Oh yeah, I'm repeating myself again, but the microscope part comes about from the need to have large force vs mass ratios for the suspension, and something molecularly perfect, like a nanotube, should have orders of magnitude better force to mass ratio than a conventional macroscopic spring, after all you want to minimize the inertial effects of the spring, compared to the ball suspended by it, which should be the dominant mass. Is there something wrong with this reasoning that a lightweight spring is better? I don't think so. I mean you could still include the interaction of the spring itself, the integral of gravity over the whole length of it, but it's preferred that the actual measured mass travel a long distance, and be focused at the tip of the spring, as opposed to a large quantity of it distributed near the suspension part of the string, where it does not move much. But because of that it does not have to accelerate much either. Now I'm confused. Somebody smarter than me figure it out, please.

Yours Truly, &c,
Slashdot user pseudonym sillybilly

Re:Four times faster than existing. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675043)

The Earth actually moves, and a satellite around it gets pulled in a different direction if the Earth moves away, than it got pulled previously. But as long as it's an inertial reference system, the Earth can be considered stationary, and the satellite traveling in the same reference frame, as if everything was still, not moving. So if there is any kind of long distance speed of gravity measurement, it may come about in highly accelerating scenarios, whether centripetal or linear acceleration. In a case where the Earth suddenly jumped in velocity, it may take some time for the satellite to notice that it's no longer in the center, and if there is a propagation delay due to the speed of gravity, it should take a different trajectory than if there were not any delay. In essence the lab experiment yanking the iridium ball out of the lab is just such an acceleration situation, and I don't know if there is a way to find a similar super accelerating thing in outer space, strongly interacting with another thing gravitationally, and measuring the trajectory due to the interaction very precisely, and there may be a way to find discrepancies due to the speed of gravity. But you're talking femtoseconds again, between large, solar system or galactic objects, and accurate distance measurements, and then you're back to square one, an r linear gain in measurement you get from increased distance for the gravity speed part, but you also lose the interaction part as 1/r^2 inverse square by that distance. However you can also pile on huger mass, as r^3 of the distance, even if lower density. So it's like watching how a hugely accelerating object interacts gravitationally with another smaller one. But how can you get huge accelerations other than through gravity, which is slow, in outer space. Probably things like supernova explosions, via thermal electromagnetic repulsion of the atoms, mechanically pushing each other, which can be a very strong accelerating force, bigger than the yanking force any kind of rod can pile on dragging an iridium ball out of the lab. But there are no such sudden acceleration/explosions very close to us, and accurate distance measurements become an issue at very large distances away from us. So I think the lab is the best place to get the ratio of accelerating mass rod force(or rise-time attainable) vs. interaction 1/r^2 distance and mass r^3 to the best ratios.

Slashdot user sillybilly

Re:Four times faster than existing. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675277)

Just kidding, I eat smegma!

Slashdot user sillybilly

Re:Four times faster than existing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675899)

Yeah, your mom said as much.

Re:Four times faster than existing. (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 2 months ago | (#47675077)

You can build a Forward Mass Sensor and use a magnetic cannon to launch an iridium sphere nearby...

Re:Four times faster than existing. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47676969)

You can notice the effects between two sets of dense metal spheres from gravity using your naked eye (Cavendish did so over 200 years ago), and if you're concerned with precise positioning you wouldn't need a camera, but something that just measures the position really well (e.g. an interferometer would do so to far more precision than you could easily set up with a microscope). And if you are trying to disprove general relativity's statement that gravity travels at c, you don't need cameras with trillions of frames a second, just an oscilloscope with nanosecond level resolution that you can find in a student lab these days. Or if you insist on using a camera, ICCD cameras with frame controls below 1 ns are commercially available off the shelf. More likely you will find the issue isn't the speed of recording devices, which far exceed those requirements, but the difficult in building such a setup that has a low enough noise floor.

Re:Four times faster than existing. -the answer is (2)

lucien86 (917502) | about 2 months ago | (#47680125)

There's a very simple test of the general relativity law about the speed of gravity - and it has already failed it spectacularly.. Put simply if gravity moved at the speed of light then the gravitational fields of black holes should collapse in on themselves leaving them externally massless. If you take the simplest classical model of black hole with a central singularity then the inner event horizons require higher and higher escape velocities towards the centre and gravity must jump over the whole lot to escape from the edge. This requires A - an absolute frame for space ruling out a curved space time, and B sets a minimum speed for gravity which is close to FTL Simultaneous - ie nearly 'infinitely' fast.
This model is not accepted in modern physics - but it is powerful and simple (orders of magnitude simpler than most others), and has no obvious point where it fails. (KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid - Occam's Razor) The real problem of course is that physicists are very stubborn and don't like their favoured solutions being contradicted - even in the face of direct evidence...

Re:Four times faster than existing. -the answer is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47683081)

Put simply if gravity moved at the speed of light then the gravitational fields of black holes should collapse in on themselves leaving them externally massless.

GR doesn't fail such a test, because it says no such thing. All the external solutions for black holes care about is that the mass is within the event horizon or really close to the event horizon. To any external viewer, the in falling material will quickly appear to approach very close to the event horizon but not be seen to fall through the event horizon. The matter distribution as seen will generate the same external solutions to the field equation as there being a singularity and is completely consistent with there being a speed of light limit to gravity. You can even take this a step further and workout what happens if you drop two dense bodies into the black hole such that they will radiate gravity waves. Once they pass the event horizon, the gravity waves will no longer be emitted outside the black hole. GR neither allows nor requires for gravity to "escape" a black hole, and gives a consistent picture for observers in different frames.

Re:Four times faster than existing. (2)

wooferhound (546132) | about 2 months ago | (#47675273)

What are we going to see that we couldn't before?

Light traveling through a glass bottle

Re:Four times faster than existing. (1)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | about 2 months ago | (#47676419)

But... uhm... you need free light to 'see'.
So how could you see the light while it is still traveling inside the glass?

Re:Four times faster than existing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47676983)

Light scattering from the beam off materials and then into the lens.

Re:Four times faster than existing. (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47677325)

So how could you see the light while it is still traveling inside the glass?

Magnets. Lots and lots of magnets.

Re:Four times faster than existing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675469)

We may finally be able to know what happens if you are driving at night and turn the headlights on!

More importantly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47676119)

Is this camera actually capturing 4 trillion distinct images per second, like a traditional camera, just much faster? Because the mentioned '1 trillion fps' camera that filmed light passing through a coke bottle wasn't doing anything like that, it was using multiple 'exposures' and precise timing of when each pixel in the sensor recieved light.

Re:Four times faster than existing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47681095)

It's Japanese so I'm guessing tentacles.

Playback at 24 FPS. (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | about 2 months ago | (#47674445)


If it's possible to play this back at 24 FPS, we can shoot that 3 minute homemade porn we've always wanted!

Re: Playback at 24 FPS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47674477)

Resolution is 450x450 pixels. That would be some quality pr0n there!

Re: Playback at 24 FPS. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47674555)

Tell me I got my math wrong: one second of video would take 4650 years to play back at 30fps?

What is supposed to trigger the start of a recording that can only last such a short time?

Re: Playback at 24 FPS. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47674623)

I did the same calculation as you about the mind boggling amount of samples in a second vs. a 30 fps camera, and got 4650.77 years too. Watching one second unfold over 4650.77 years might just be unfathomable to me. An incredible amount of things has happened in 4000+ years of human history vs. one second.

Re: Playback at 24 FPS. (1)

bondsbw (888959) | about 2 months ago | (#47674979)

Watching one second unfold over 4650.77 years might just be unfathomable to me.

No, I'm pretty sure it is exactly unfathomable to any of us.

Re: Playback at 24 FPS. (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 2 months ago | (#47676173)

Would make one hell of an art project, I guess.

Re: Playback at 24 FPS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47677921)

Unfathomable? I suspect it would like a still image. The differences between frames would be so minute that you wouldn't notice any changes.

Re: Playback at 24 FPS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675933)

So 1ms of captured video would take about 4.5 years to play back at 30 fps. 100us: about 4 months. 10us: about 12 days. About 29 hours to play back a single microsecond. Almost 3 hours for 100 ns.

Again, I hope your finger doesn't delay on the shutter trigger.

Re: Playback at 24 FPS. (2)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 2 months ago | (#47676263)

My sex-life?

Re: Playback at 24 FPS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47676743)

Light's path as it travel; 1 ft, 30 cm in 1.8 mins..

Re:Playback at 24 FPS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675135)

Oh god it's gay porn, do we have to stay til the end?

human eye (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47674449)

but the eye can only see a max of 60 frames per second, what a waste.

Re:human eye (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47674525)

You remember that "We can recover audio from a video of a potato chip bag" article right? 4.4 Trillion FPS might be overkill for that though.

Re:human eye (2)

iamwhoiamtoday (1177507) | about 2 months ago | (#47674541)

That's if you want to watch it in realtime. Things, such as bullet dynamics, railguns, physics labs, so on so forth, would have great use for such a camera.

FOR SCIENCE!!!

Re:human eye (2)

RelaxedTension (914174) | about 2 months ago | (#47674665)

Exactly. But until they capture and show something better than this [youtube.com] I say Meh.

Re:human eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47677323)

Not everyone working on such cameras is doing so for just for the sake of developing new methods, and instead are trying to use it for some specific measurement. Some people on a project I work on wanted to try borrowing some streak cameras to make similar images, half for fun and half for PR, but no one wanted to take the work to keep resetting it up for the actual experiment it was intended to be used for.

Re:human eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47674965)

and awesome youtube videos

Re:human eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47678587)

no, its no use for most high-speed stuff.
why?
because its ONLY a still image camera. it takes ONE picture
the interesting stuff here is that you have picosecond precision in exactly WHEN the image is taken
now, to get that 10 s movie of a light flash moving through a bottle, you take 300 pictures (running the experiment 300 times - i'd like to see that with, say, a railgun where you change the bore every few shots....), each picture taken with a slightly longer delay.
it's completely useless for recording things like bullets

Re:human eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47679071)

The camera that made the image/video of a light pulse going through a coke bottle could only take a single line image at a time. This camera is different, it takes up to six images on that time scale, and can be scaled to more (although not cheaply). So it would allow for observation of high speed dynamics in a single event.

Yeah well... (2)

Morpeth (577066) | about 2 months ago | (#47674475)

but does it go to 11 ?

This is really cool technology! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47674527)

This technology sounds totally cool. I'd like to see them use it to take pictures of somebody viewing the shitty Slashdot Beta site. They could capture the user's extreme boredom as this user waits for the shitty Beta site's page and all its shitty JavaScript and CSS crap to initially load. Then they could capture the trillionth of a second when the person notices that it's the shitty Beta site rather than the Classic site, and the person's anger starts to grow. The photos would progressively show the anger turning into madness, and then finally utter and complete disappointment and despair once the shitty Beta site has finally loaded. The photos could also capture the formation and flow of the very first of many teardrops to cascade down this poor victim's cheeks as the user struggles in vain to read the stories' small text with poor contrast. These trillions upon trillions of frames of total anguish could be examined in excruciating detail, so the awful nature of the Slashdot Beta site could be truly comprehended.

Re:This is really cool technology! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47674985)

you're forgetting what i would consider the climax of the tale,

immediately after the realization that beta has loaded the look of desperation as they scroll down searching for the link to salvation

Re:This is really cool technology! (1)

sg_oneill (159032) | about 2 months ago | (#47675379)

Hahaha if I had mod points ,they'd be all your sir! Classic comment (as opposed to shitty beta comment)

Re:This is really cool technology! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675493)

You win sir, you win!

Beta horror flick at 11.

in all seriousness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47676633)

i'm pretty bummed out. i mean starting many years ago /. became an advertising platform (as are many popular websites), but after the dice acquisition it got soo much worse.

and yeah, the beta design is awful. the original site had the amazing minimalist yet graceful charm going on with it. i think i still have a few ancient archives of slashcode, maybe ill make a site using it that grabs all /. as well as other tech news and drops it there, with no ridiculous flash ads and *free* resume and job postings.

cheers,
sgt burrito

No video in article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47674529)

I guess it's just as well... my monitor's refresh rate doesn't go that high.

Bandwidth and Storage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47674545)

Any information on how they deal with the captured frame data? Is it stored optically or digitally? If digitally then how are they managing to provide the bandwidth necessary?

Re:Bandwidth and Storage (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 2 months ago | (#47675423)

420*500*16 bit pixel depth*4.4 trillion frames per second = 1,800 TB/sec. raw, obvously, because i don't know if anything can compress that fast. my ssd can do 500 MB / sec. Is that close?

Re:Bandwidth and Storage (1)

rwise2112 (648849) | about 2 months ago | (#47677895)

420*500*16 bit pixel depth*4.4 trillion frames per second = 1,800 TB/sec. raw, obvously, because i don't know if anything can compress that fast. my ssd can do 500 MB / sec. Is that close?

So, how much storage are we going to need for the next Hobbit movie?

Re:Bandwidth and Storage (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 months ago | (#47679597)

None at all.

Watching the footage (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47674567)

At 4.4 trillion frames a second, playing back one second of footage at 24fps would take over 5,580 years.

Re: Watching the footage (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47674641)

Finally, a cable network with no reruns.

Motion Picture Camera? (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 2 months ago | (#47674581)

designed a motion picture camera which is capable of ... 450 x 450 pixel pictures

I guess if you're targeting a 320x240 device, that counts... otherwise, not so much.

( 450x450 is still pretty impressive at that frame rate. )

Picoseconds... (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47674599)

Picosecond resolution... ....only 30 or so more zeros until we hit one frame per plank time.

Re:Picoseconds... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47679945)

Picosecond resolution... ....only 30 or so more zeros until we hit one frame per plank time.

You may know it's supposed to be "planck time" (damn autocorrect!), but others reading this may not. Because it's an eponymous term due to Dr. Max Planck's work.

Re:Picoseconds... (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47682287)

I was talking about wooden boards, you insensitive clod!

[Also, thanks...]

Some details (5, Informative)

JerryLove (1158461) | about 2 months ago | (#47674601)

First FTA: There's a mention of a previous camera...
"Back in 2011, researchers from MIT created a high-speed camera that captured light passing through an empty bottle in slow motion by acquiring visual data at one trillion frames a second – to the STAMP cam, more than four times faster than this, even the speed of light could be as stimulating as watching paint dry."

That's misleading. The camera in 2011 didn't do amazingly high FPS capture. What it did have was very short capture with precise timing. That video of a laser moving through a bottle was actually thousands of successive laser shots. More like stop-motion than video.

Now this camera I see fewer details on. I do see that one thing it seems to do is to divide a laser with a prism and use the separation to make virtual frames by using different receptors.

Let me make an analogy. If you took a normal RGB color sensor from a camera, and exposed it, and during that exposure you fired a red flash, then a green flash than a blue flash one after the other. Take your resulting picture and break it into three by color and you have 3 "frames". They appear to be doing this with a large number of wavelengths.

The next marketing trick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47674627)

To sell you bigger hard drives.

Things that go fast (3, Interesting)

Earthquake Retrofit (1372207) | about 2 months ago | (#47674657)

It seems to me a camera ilke would be useful for viewing things that happen very quickly, for instance, particle collisions in an atom smasher.

Re:Things that go fast (2)

BenFenner (981342) | about 2 months ago | (#47674773)

After thinking about this for a beat, I went from "great idea" to "how in the hell would that work?" pretty quickly.

I have admittedly not read the article, but if the camera captures photos, are there photons flying around in particle colliders just flying around bouncing off sub-atomic particles all over the place, enough to get a video of it all happening? I get the feeling photons don't interact with the particles much if at all, which is why now they can only see where they end up (trapped or puncture a gold film?) and guess their path with math...

Re:Things that go fast (4, Interesting)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 2 months ago | (#47674819)

Most particle physics happens on much faster time scales than picoseconds. There is some slower physics but that can generally be measured by looking at the verticies where tracks diverge and calculating the time it too particles to get to those vertices.

For measuring beams rather than the individual particle collisions we can use transverse deflection structures (a sort of streak-camera on steroids) to get to resolutions of a few femtoseconds.

The original article is a nice technique, but whether it is the fastest depends on how you define "camera". It is probably the fastest for 2-d images, but there are much faster 1-d imagers.

Re:Things that go fast (1)

penguinoid (724646) | about 2 months ago | (#47675819)

It seems to me a camera like that would be useful for viewing things that happen very quickly, for instance, particle collisions in an atom smasher.

Or...
the period during which a new politician is still honest and competent.
the attention span of the average teenager.
the length of time a non-staff member can use Beta before losing all faith in humanity.
the length of time DRM prevents a non-crippled version appearing on TPB.
a flash of lightning.

At 4.4 trillions fps played back at 24 fps, the average lightning bolt would take 1.5 hours. I'm not sure the camera is fast enough to capture any of the others.

Always needing more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47674689)

I bet that if movies and video games were running at 4.3 trillion frames per second already, all those frame rate whores would be having a tantrum right now because it's just not smooth enough.

People crave bigger (better) shit. Anything that exceed what they (but mostly others) currently have, even if they it's to the point of being silly.

Captcha: porches

Re:Always needing more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675025)

Plank time or go home!

Re:Always needing more... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675311)

Ah, yes. Plank time: the ultimate endpoint for pirate physicists.

Fast enough to catch Obama going to golf? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47674769)

Obama made it to the golf course just 7 minutes after finishing his statement today. [twitter.com]

Priorities.

4.4 trillion frames per second? (1)

Trogre (513942) | about 2 months ago | (#47674787)

Still not enough for the Mythbusters.

(On a more serious note though, how on Earth do they manage to store even a few microseconds of the footage from this beast?)

Re:4.4 trillion frames per second? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47674825)

Maybe it only has a 1x1 pixel resolution?

Re:4.4 trillion frames per second? (4, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 months ago | (#47674905)

(On a more serious note though, how on Earth do they manage to store even a few microseconds of the footage from this beast?)

They don't. From the full paper:

In our proof-of-principle demonstration, the total number of frames was limited to six due to our simple embodiment of the SMD (Supplementary Figs 3 and 4), but can be increased up to 100 by increasing the number of periscopes in the periscope array of the SMD or by using a more complex design (see Methods and Supplementary Section ‘Improvements in STAMP's specifications’)

You can't just record an indefinite length movie with this thing, you basically need to alter the hardware to record longer segments (since it has different physical elements detect different frames of the signal).

Doesn't that come with another problem? (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47674845)

I mean, the speed of light is 299,792,458,000 Millimeters per second. Maybe I miscalculated something (I always get confused with the way the US names its powers of 10), but doesn't that mean that in 15 frames of this movie, light only moves for about a millimeter? Someone with more background in physics may shed some light onto this (no pun intended), but when you're dealing with stuff SO fast that it approaches the speed of light, isn't measuring and recording subject to the problem that you cannot transport information (and thus also the result of your experiment to the observing camera) faster than said speed of light?

Re:Doesn't that come with another problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675389)

I always get confused with the way the US names its powers of 10

Look: I'll be the first to dump on the US adherence to the imperial system, but when you protest "US powers of 10" you really mean "By Jove, you mean to say this isn't British Empire in the 19th century?!"

No one uses your long-form scale anymore. Now everywhere it's like the SI system, where each successive 10^3 gets a new term. No one else in the world has a problem except some of you addled limeys who insist on confusing yourself by adhering to obsolete definitions.

Plz 2 get with the 20th century, as it's now the 21st. kthxbai.

Re:Doesn't that come with another problem? (1)

fisted (2295862) | about 2 months ago | (#47675589)

I mean, the speed of light is 299,792,458,000 Meters per second.

FTFY

Re: Doesn't that come with another problem? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675707)

If your first F isn't "fixed", I'd agree. Count the zeroes, and learn how to spell "metres". xx lol thx.

Re: Doesn't that come with another problem? (1)

fisted (2295862) | about 2 months ago | (#47684871)

the first F was supposed to mean "failed" ;).
You're right. Not sure what i was thinking...

Re:Doesn't that come with another problem? (2)

glwtta (532858) | about 2 months ago | (#47675611)

Yup, I'm getting 0.06813 mm per frame.

Pretty damn impressive, but then again, that thing apparently can only record 6 frames at a time, making the whole article misleading to the point of being complete bullshit.

Re:Doesn't that come with another problem? (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 2 months ago | (#47676447)

Well, they don't transport anything anywhere with their solution. But, if you had a technology that could actually offload the data to bulk storage and thus operate "indefinitely" the speed of light would not create any problems whatsoever.

Just send the data down a wire or fiber optic cable. Sure, the first byte will only travel a few mm before you have to send the second, but there is no law saying that you can only have one packet of data in the cable at a time. Speed of light impacts latency, not bandwidth. If you want to be able to retransmit lost packets/etc then that latency will have a HUGE impact on your buffering requirements at both ends. We're talking transmitting trillions of data points before getting the first ack.

The reality is that it will be a long time before this technology could be operated for more than a handful of frames at a time. We don't have any technologies with the necessary bandwidth to transfer this kind of data volume quickly. Even if a frame only required a kilobyte of space to store, you're talking about petabytes per second here. Still, the speed of light is not a fundamental limitation on bandwidth.

Re:Doesn't that come with another problem? (1)

thieh (3654731) | about 2 months ago | (#47676511)

The system is at steady state (photons are already at the lens/detector) by the time you start, so when you do, you are taking the photons that are closest to your detectors first, whether they are in front of the lens or next to your detector. What I am interested in is that at trillions of frames per second where do you get hundreds of TB/s to PB/s of bandwidth between camera and storage? I do not recall stuffs you buy at a store go that fast.

Re:Doesn't that come with another problem? (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 2 months ago | (#47676883)

If you have a trillion cameras all operating in sequence such that they are triggered exactly so one activates a trillionth of a second after the other, than you've got exactly the same information via speed of light as just one camera. The only question is how much light each device is sampling. The shorter the time window, the more sensitive the measurement of light.

But I don't see any problem with speed of light; you are just sampling what hits the sensor at a faster rate.

I'm just wondering who would sit around for a few weeks to watch a humming bird beat its wings a few times. We need some hyperbolic metaphors so we can comprehend how fast this is...

Re:Doesn't that come with another problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47677031)

You don't have to start the recording sequence at the instant you do something else. A big part of these systems is not only fast frames, but being able to very precisely control when they happen, including a delay that may be large relative to the frame rate. You just start recording images after giving enough time for light to get from whatever you care about to camera. Or you vary the delay, and can get a much longer sequence than the camera can take in a single go. It is no different than a lot of those famous images of bullets going through objects, where the camera was actually much faster than the time it took for the bullet to travel from the gun to the object, so they had to set a delay to give time for the bullet to be where they wanted.

Doesn't that come with another problem? (1)

marcroelofs (797176) | about 2 months ago | (#47678537)

Red light is 430 trillion hertz. So about 100 red light waves per frame.

Re:Doesn't that come with another problem? (1)

jfengel (409917) | about 2 months ago | (#47680589)

The scale they're trying to capture is far smaller than that: they want to capture molecules moving in a chemical reaction. They're moving much, much less than a millimeter.

The speed of light isn't the problem there. The entire frame comes in to them at the speed of light, just as in an ordinary camera. The trick is being able to capture this frame and move on to the next one, which they do with a very clever beam-splitting setup. (I haven't gotten all the details yet, but I gather that it's like sending the light beams to multiple cameras at once, each of which takes a very, very short image at a very, very precisely calibrated time. And it doesn't actually have a trillion cameras; it takes frames at that rate, but only a few of them, one per camera.)

REALLY SLOW motion... (1)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | about 2 months ago | (#47675699)

Stretch those femtoseconds into hours, nice...

4.4 trillion frames per second, and (1)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about 2 months ago | (#47675901)

high pixel resolution (450×450 pixels).
http://www.nature.com/nphoton/... [nature.com]

Will I need to update my TV to 4K to play it? Enough said.

Re:4.4 trillion frames per second, and (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 2 months ago | (#47676233)

high pixel resolution (450Ã--450 pixels) [..]
Will I need to update my TV to 4K to play it?

WTF? 450 x 450 is effectively sub-SD (640 x 480 or 720 x 576).

Not that this is a criticism if one is shooting a mindboggling trillions of frames per second, but in terms of spatial resolution alone, it'd probably disappoint even on your existing HD set.

Also, you'll probably complain that the high frame rate makes it look like a cheap soap opera and prefer it when they go back to 24 fps. ;-)

In all seriousness, trillions of frames per second... WTF?! How does that even work? Modern CPUs operate in the low GHz (i.e. *billions* of ops per second) range, "trillions" is a thousand times faster (THz). Even assuming the use of specialised hardware, how does one even begin to deal with handling frames at that speed?

Ignoring the amount of capacity that might be required to store such high frame rates- we could assume it might just be recording a very short burst- one still needs to get it off the sensor (or whatever) and store it somewhere in an average of one-trillionth of a second. Even a Class-10 SD card probably isn't going to cut it here(!)

Re:4.4 trillion frames per second, and (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 2 months ago | (#47676463)

The concept is like a film camera. You capture the data first, and deal with it later. No CPU is involved in the actual collection of each frame, and they capture a VERY limited number of frames as a result.

When they did bullet time in the first matrix movie they just lined up a whole bunch of cameras and triggered them at very short intervals. Each camera only recorded a single frame. You can collect/process the data later - the critical part was capturing the data. Most high-speed data collection works the same way - extremely fast sampling times, but capture is done into a small buffer and then offloaded later.

But, can it... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47676105)

can it be used to take a picture of a woman with her mouth closed?

Re:But, can it... (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 months ago | (#47679613)

That's easy. Just ask for a BJ.

4.4 trillion FPS (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 2 months ago | (#47676435)

1 second / 4.4 trillion * 3E8 m/s = 68 microns.

That's the distance light covers between frames. Wow.

Atmospheric nuclear testing (1)

Alioth (221270) | about 2 months ago | (#47676459)

Pity this didn't exist during the days of atmospheric nuclear testing.

finally! (1)

excelsior_gr (969383) | about 2 months ago | (#47676487)

Finally something that can show us your mom falling on her ass in slow motion!

Peter Jackson (1)

PsyMan (2702529) | about 2 months ago | (#47676563)

Will cream his pants, it can't be long before he will be using this to film the first 12 movies in the long overdue LOTR reboot.

Any viewer available? (1)

fabrica64 (791212) | about 2 months ago | (#47677075)

It will take a long time to see that second!
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