Here’s something I’ve been waiting my entire life for, a device that allows you to see through walls. Science is finally catching up to science fiction. A group of students from the University of Wollongong, in Australia, have developed the Compressed Sensing Imager (CSI), a project that netted them a NASSCOM Innovation Student Award last month in Sydney.
There are currently other mechanisms that can see through solids, but none that you could strap onto a Batman-style utility belt. Okay, maybe it isn’t quite that small, but you could hide it in a backpack or mount it on your car. However you slice it, the great breakthrough with CSI is the portability. While there are obvious superhero/super villain applications, the intended uses for CSI are far more practical. They include things like looking through rubble for survivors in the case of a disaster, or for police and military forces to get a covert glimpse into rooms. You could theoretically determine if someone is on your side or not, or check on the status of captives in hostage situations. CSI can even peer at objects deep underground, a boon for archaeologists and excavators to look at buried items unobtrusively.
Another edge CSI has over competing machines is that you can see what it sees in real time. Existing imagers can only deliver pictures every couple of minutes, while with CSI you can see it live.
Collaborating with schools in the United States, the University of Wollongong group has built prototypes and plans to commercialize the CSI soon.