Leave it to the geniuses at MIT to develop a piece of tech that essentially allows them to study without really studying. I’m of course talking about a camera developed by a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that can read books without them being opened or even touched. If this X-ray vision camera sounds incredibly sci-fi in nature, you clearly underestimated the power and minds of our leading techies. The goal of the camera, however, is not to get out of the academic requirement of actually hitting the books – the camera was developed to scan books that are centuries old, which can be too delicate to touch or read without damaging them.
So, just how does this camera read the text and contents of these ancient books in order to preserve their rich history? It’s all about the terahertz radiation, not x-rays. Terahertz radiation is sandwiched between microwave and infrared on the spectrum. When this type of radiation is sent through a book, a pulse bounces back to the device emitting the radiation at a distinct frequency. In this case, that device is a camera, which is equipped with an advanced algorithm that can detect, analyze and interpret these frequencies in order to translate them into actual text and words.
The camera is so high-tech that it can even measure the length of time it takes the radiation to reach the thin gaps between pages, meaning it can decipher text and content to its exact page and origin in the book. As of now, the camera remains a prototype that the researchers are still fine-tuning – it currently can only read the content on the first nine pages of a given book, while distinguishing the difference of up to 20 pages. The hope is to refine the camera to the point where it can detect and read an entire book cover to cover without it ever being opened. Check out the video below to get even more insight from the lead researcher on how this technology works.