By LINDSAY DALTER The world is getting safer with a new type of technology that uses infrared sensors to detect the presence of people.
A pair of researchers at the University of Michigan and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently unveiled a new technology that makes it possible to determine the location of an individual through the infrared glow of a phone or tablet.
It’s a revolutionary technology that could eventually help protect people who are blinded by cell phone signals or the blinding glare of sunglasses.
“If you are a person who uses a cell phone, you could be blind because your retina is not being illuminated by the light of a mobile phone,” said lead researcher Daniel Vetter, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the university.
“But you can’t see the person that is on your phone because they are not illuminated by that phone.
So we wanted to create a technology that can detect the location and the distance to the person in real time.”
To create the technology, researchers in the lab of Matthew Dennard, a professor of materials science and engineering at MIT, scanned a phone’s camera and sensor with a scanning electron microscope.
The microscope then scanned the same image from the other side of the device, which allowed them to create two separate images of the person on the other end of the phone.
The researchers used this method to determine whether the person was actually in the room with them, as opposed to in the hallway, which was where they were likely to be.
“You don’t need to be able to see the phone to know if someone is in the same room,” Vetter said.
“If you have a blind person on a blind phone, they are probably not the person you are looking for.”
The team created a device that could determine whether someone was in a particular room by measuring how bright a cell signal was in the surrounding area, as well as the direction of the glow.
If a phone emits an infrared signal from its camera, the device would then detect that person’s presence, and tell the person to move their hand in that direction.
If the phone emitted a cell call, the phone would emit an infrared wave, which would be detected by the infrared light reflected by the device.
“The infrared wave has a much higher energy than the light you see,” said Vetter.
“The phone’s signal is actually a lot brighter than the background.
The IR waves are a bit more faint, so they can’t be detected.”
To make the system work, the team had to create the right conditions to see and sense the IR waves.
The device had to be mounted in a room that had infrared lights and a light that could detect the IR signal.
The team also had to make sure that the IR light was emitted by the phone itself, rather than the other way around.
“One of the things that is particularly exciting about this is that the device itself doesn’t need any kind of detector,” said Dennart.
“There’s no detector, it’s just a detector that you can see.”
The researchers said they are currently testing the technology on their own users, and that the team plans to release a version of their system to the public later this year.
The researchers hope the device can also be used to detect people with severe vision problems, including those with cataracts, who are more likely to have their vision affected by cell phones.
The technology could also be useful in situations where people are unable to see because they use contact lenses or because they have cataract surgery.