How can you see into a room and know what’s in a room unless you step into it, or at least have cameras in it? Turns out that there might be another way – firing a laser through a keyhole. That’s what researchers at the Stanford Computational Imaging Lab have done, in which they shot a single laser into a keyhole and from there, they could “see” what kind of physical objects are inside.

This imaging technique, known as non-line-of-sight imaging, is by no means new. It has been around for a while now, although over the years, researchers refined upon it. The technique has been used to create cameras to see around corners or see past objects that might be in the camera’s line of sight.

This is achieved by using pulses of light to bounce off surfaces, which then bounces off objects that might otherwise be hidden from sight, and then back to the camera’s sensors. Algorithms are then used to determine how long the reflections take to return which then generate the image of what we can’t see.

It’s a pretty cool technique and some potential uses for it are for police or military use where they can get an idea of what’s happening in a room before they go in. It has also been suggested that it could be used for self-driving cars where it can help the car detect potential hazards up ahead and around the corner well in advance.

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