Big brother can watch you from across the city with this new Lidar powered surveillance camera.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get much creepier, along comes a story about a new Lidar powered surveillance camera system so powerful it can cut through 28 miles (48km) of city smog and see you stuff your face with those six Taco’s you purchased for lunch. Join us after the break for more details about this new, powerful shoe box sized surveillance camera system.
A recent thread on Reddit brought to light an article that was posted on MIT Technology Review. It turns out that scientists and physicists from the University of Science and Technology of China in Shanghai have developed a Lidar based surveillance camera that can produce images by joining together ridiculously small amounts of data that can be captured through reflected light from up to 28 miles (48km) away.
Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) systems are incredibly powerful. They work by shooting lasers over long distances. Once the laser reaches its target, the subject is illuminated, and the data is sent back to a computer. The photons that are collected and returned to the super computer within a given time frame are then stitched together to form the image. Any photon that arrives after the time cut off (calculated via distance to and from the target) is ignored, which means that noise is well controlled, and that images are high in resolution.
What’s really crazy is that the system is so powerful that it will cut through smog in any environment. To make the system highly effective and safe, scientists used an infrared wavelength of 1550 nanometers. What this means to you and me is that the laser is eye safe. If big brother is trying to see what you’re up to, you won’t go blind if they hit you in the eye while they are watching you eat your lunch.
The image above was captured from roughly 28 miles away after scientist Zheng-Ping-Li put the shoe-box sized surveillance camera high atop a building in Shanghai. As you can see, the end result is pretty spectacular for a land based camera that cut through smog and dealt with the curvature of the earth.
The guys and gals at the University of Science and Technology in China believe that the system will soon be able to see hundreds of miles with some refinements and tuning, so you might want to think twice before digging deep in that left nostril while you’re out and about in public.