Have you ever come across a book and thought to yourself, “Gosh, if only there was a way that I could read this book without having to open it!” If that describes you perfectly, you’re in luck because MIT has developed a camera for just that purpose. Jokes aside, MIT really has designed a camera that can read books with its cover closed.
However this camera was not designed for the lazy reader. Instead MIT has designed this camera to help with the reading of documents that might otherwise be too sensitive to be opened, such as really old parchments or books from hundreds of years ago, where trying to open them might destroy it in the process.
So how does this work? Terahertz radiation. According to MIT, “The system exploits the fact that trapped between the pages of a book are tiny air pockets only about 20 micrometers deep. The difference in refractive index — the degree to which they bend light — between the air and the paper means that the boundary between the two will reflect terahertz radiation back to a detector.”
From there, an algorithm will be used to try and figure out the characters between the spaces, which in turn will give the researchers an idea of what’s inside the book without having to open it. Now before you get too excited, there are limitations, one of which is that the system cannot go past 9 pages without being swamped with noise, but we suppose it’s a start.