Texas researchers work on microchips to see through objects

Most of us have been fascinated by devices since childhood that let you see through objects. Wouldn’t it be cool to see past a wall or building, almost like gaining superhero powers? Now, researchers at the Texas University have designed a chip for smartphones that enables seeing through objects including clothes. The team at the Texas University at Dallas has ‘tuned a small, inexpensive microchip to discern a "terahertz" band of the electromagnetic spectrum.’ The design of the chip uses Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor technology which leaves behind processors that are commonly found in personal computers, smartphones, televisions and even video games. 

Just like a superman...

Just like a superman...(Image Source)


"CMOS is affordable and can be used to make lots of chips. The combination of CMOS and terahertz means you could put this chip and a transmitter on the back of a cell phone, turning it into a device carried in your pocket that can see through objects," revealed electrical engineering professor Kenneth O said in a statement Friday. According to the university, the professor and the team at Texas Analogue Center of Excellence have been limiting their study to what the chips can make visible at distances of four inches (10 centimeters) or less. The terahertz band has wavelengths that fall somewhere between microwaves used for mobile phone signals and infrared employed for night vision goggles.

The chip that is designed by O's team detects terahertz waves and results in the form of imagery, which is displayed on the user’s smartphone screen. While this research seems mere fun to some, the researchers say that this could be a good step towards advanced medical treatment. It would enable doctors to peer through patients’ bodies and also help in further studies. "We've created approaches that open a previously untapped portion of the electromagnetic spectrum for consumer use. There are all kinds of things you could be able to do that we just haven't yet thought about," O said.

Published Date: Apr 21, 2012 01:02 pm | Updated Date: Apr 21, 2012 01:02 pm