Now, you can judge a book by its cover with MIT's new system
Can you read a book without opening its cover? The idea may sound crazy, but researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology are working on making such a device that can peer through the closed books, in fact, they have managed to create a prototype of this amazing device.
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The system utilizes terahertz radiation, the band of electromagnetic radiation between microwaves and infrared light to read closed book and can identify letters printed on papers up to nine sheets thick.
The technology works similar to X-ray, ultrasound waves or other radiations that can penetrate surface but is superior to them in many ways. It can differentiate between ink and blank paper in a way that X-rays cannot. Moreover, it can dig deep and produce high resolution images better than those accomplished by ultrasound.
This technology could lead to improve scanners that are used for printing bulks of photographs and posters or to scan ancient books which are too fragile to open. The technology can pierce through tiny air pockets about 20 micrometers deep between the pages of a book and makes the scanning of ancient books possible without damaging them.
The prototype terahertz camera emits ultrashort bursts of radiation and use built-in sensors to detect their reflection and to interpret the text. At the moment, the device can reach the depth of nine pages but researchers are constantly working to improve both power and accuracy of the device to ensure even deeper penetration.
"So much work has gone into terahertz technology to get the sources and detectors working, with big promises for imaging new and exciting things,” said Laura Waller from University of California at Berkeley. “This work is one of the first to use these new tools along with advances in computational imaging to get at pictures of things we could never see with optical technologies. Now we can judge a book through its cover!”