New mobile chip lets users see through walls

25 June, 2024

Scientists have developed an imaging chip for mobile phones that has the powers of Superman. Users will be able to see what’s inside boxes or behind walls.

The technology behind the new innovative chip is based on an array of three sensors that emit high-frequency radio signals in the millimetre wave band of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The signals reflected from the target object are amplified by integrated components, allowing the contours of the object to be displayed on a screen. In tests, the chip was able to detect an object behind cardboard at a distance of about one centimetre.

It took 15 years of research and effort to create the chip, as the aim was to make it small enough – like a grain of sand – to fit inside a mobile phone.

In the future, smartphones with the chip will be able to detect the contents of envelopes or parcels. But this capability in mobile phones could also be used to find nails, pipes or wires behind walls.

As well as being able to see through walls, the researchers say the new imaging technology could also be used in medicine.

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