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A new camera developed by Chinese researchers is said to be capable of photographing subjects from as far as 28 miles away.
Relying on a powerful laser and artificial intelligence (AI), the camera is roughly the size of a large shoe box and can even see through smog.
The team behind the breakthrough, researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China in Shanghai, say the camera uses single-photon detectors and a special algorithm to create high-resolution images even when data is scarce.
As explained by MIT Technology Review, the system is “based on laser ranging and detection, or lidar—illuminating the subject with laser light and then creating an image from reflected light.”
The powerful laser, which is reportedly safe even for the human eye, helps the camera penetrate heavily polluted urban environments such as major cities.
“This result demonstrates the superior capability of the near-infrared single-photon LiDAR system to resolve targets through smog,” the research team said.
The camera can be used for everything from “remote sensing” to “airborne surveillance and target recognition and identification.”
”Our results open a new venue for high-resolution, fast, low-power 3D optical imaging over ultralong ranges,” the team added.
The new system is expected to become even better in time and may soon be capable of photographing images hundreds of kilometers away.
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Mikael Thalen is a tech and security reporter based in Seattle, covering social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.