Were you ever fooled by those stupid X-ray glasses as a kid? You know the kind, the glasses with the hypnoswirl lenses that promised you would be able to see through anything. That kind of stuff never went anywhere, but a research team at a Texas university are about to make it a reality.
Researchers at the University of Texas in Dallas have created a small chip that can see in the terahertz band of the electromagnetic spectrum. If you find yourself confused by what you just read, it just means that this chip could give smartphones the ability to see through objects like clothing and walls. It achieves this miraculous feat through the aforementioned terahertz band that falls between microwaves and infrared making it the ultimate spy (or creeper) tool.
"We’ve created approaches that open a previously untapped portion of the electromagnetic spectrum for consumer use and life-saving medical applications,” said Dr. Kenneth O, professor of electrical engineering at UT Dallas and director of the Texas Analog Center of Excellence (TxACE). “The terahertz range is full of unlimited potential that could benefit us all.”
The researchers are keeping it at this distance to keep privacy concerns to a minimum. Who knows if we could even have this technology in our phones or for any other kind of consumer use? The researchers envision the technology being used for boring things like medical procedures. Sure, it could be used to save lives but where's the X-ray vision that can be used to become Superman? It's these kind of important applications that researchers need to think of.
All joking aside, this is a huge step for science and the way we interact with the world. Beyond just the medical implication, it could improve a whole bevy of functions from less-invasive security to finding studs in a wall for construction. Dr. O confirms this when he said, “There are all kinds of things you could be able to do that we just haven’t yet thought about."
What could be the biggest boon to this new technology, however, is its use of the terahertz frequency. The research indicated that there are more communication channels open at this frequency so information being shared via terahertz would be super fast.
What do you think about X-ray vision applications maybe coming to a smartphone near you? Let us know in the comments.[Lead image: Tom Heroes]