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(Daily Mail)   New spy camera takes pictures in complete darkness. However, the privacy of being photographed without you knowing it is balanced out by the fact that there is no annoying red eye   (dailymail.co.uk) divider line 49
    More: Spiffy, photons, hidden camera, measuring, particles  
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3847 clicks; posted to Geek » on 02 Dec 2013 at 9:13 AM (39 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



49 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2013-12-02 07:58:52 AM
It's an "active" device:

The camera works by scanning an object using low-intensity pulses of laser light.

Like all such devices, a simple detector will warn you of the presence of such a device.  And because the detector only has to be able to detect the signal directly from the laser, and not the reflection, it can be significantly less sensitive and still have a greater range than the camera itself.
 
2013-12-02 08:26:12 AM
My camera takes pictures in complete darkness too.

markleung.com
 
2013-12-02 09:12:45 AM

dittybopper: It's an "active" device:

The camera works by scanning an object using low-intensity pulses of laser light.

Like all such devices, a simple detector will warn you of the presence of such a device.  And because the detector only has to be able to detect the signal directly from the laser, and not the reflection, it can be significantly less sensitive and still have a greater range than the camera itself.


Here's the project website if you're not a brain-dead Daily Mail writer.

http://www.rle.mit.edu/first-photon-imaging/

As the website name suggests, the significance of this work is that they can reproduce images using a  single photon at each pixel. If you think about it, this is just about the minimum possible amount of light conceivable for an imaging task (barring something like sampling).

It's true that this is still an active device, and in principle could be detected by a sufficiently sensitive detector the problem would be the false-positive rate. Either your subject is permanently locked in a completely dark room, or there will be enough natural light just about anywhere else to register on your detector. You would need a somewhat sophisticated detector to discriminate this kind of device against natural background light.
 
2013-12-02 09:49:39 AM

Fubini: dittybopper: It's an "active" device:

The camera works by scanning an object using low-intensity pulses of laser light.

Like all such devices, a simple detector will warn you of the presence of such a device.  And because the detector only has to be able to detect the signal directly from the laser, and not the reflection, it can be significantly less sensitive and still have a greater range than the camera itself.

Here's the project website if you're not a brain-dead Daily Mail writer.

http://www.rle.mit.edu/first-photon-imaging/

As the website name suggests, the significance of this work is that they can reproduce images using a  single photon at each pixel. If you think about it, this is just about the minimum possible amount of light conceivable for an imaging task (barring something like sampling).

It's true that this is still an active device, and in principle could be detected by a sufficiently sensitive detector the problem would be the false-positive rate. Either your subject is permanently locked in a completely dark room, or there will be enough natural light just about anywhere else to register on your detector. You would need a somewhat sophisticated detector to discriminate this kind of device against natural background light.


+1
Ooooh goody.  3 posts in and someone posts some thing more akin to the english behind the science, instead of using what some call english, attempting and badly(or excellently) failing at describing the science.

I expected clicking in so early in the thread would leave me waiting..
/called in sick, so I'm too lazy to google at all today
//bbl
 
2013-12-02 09:52:33 AM
A scaled down LIDAR equivalent? Operating
 
2013-12-02 09:56:34 AM
A scaled down LIDAR equivalent? Operating principles seem deceptively similar, but utilizing less power/more precise laser light. The most exciting application I could imagine would be quality control on deep sea oil wells or low light nature photography.
 
2013-12-02 09:58:10 AM
Great, now I won't be able to get Electric Eye out of my head all day.:b
 
2013-12-02 10:19:53 AM
Researchers from MIT have managed to create sharp images of dimly lit objects using photons, which are elementary particles that are not composed of smaller particles.
Using mathematics, they stitched together information gleaned from the tiny particles of light, which were recorded by a solid-state detector in the camera.


That's about my level after a case of rum in a week. What's their excuse?
 
2013-12-02 10:21:58 AM
Hidden in the dashboard
The unseen mechanized eye
Under surveillance
The road is full of cats eyes
It's sick function to pry
 
2013-12-02 10:26:08 AM
Paris Hilton ecstatic with anticipation?
 
2013-12-02 10:33:59 AM
Did anyone notice the geeky shirt the subject being photographed had on ?

//I want one...
 
2013-12-02 10:38:02 AM
Two comments on that thread before derp overflow.
 
2013-12-02 10:50:55 AM
Um, don't all cameras work by capturing photons in the air?
 
2013-12-02 10:55:10 AM

Fubini: dittybopper: It's an "active" device:

The camera works by scanning an object using low-intensity pulses of laser light.

Like all such devices, a simple detector will warn you of the presence of such a device.  And because the detector only has to be able to detect the signal directly from the laser, and not the reflection, it can be significantly less sensitive and still have a greater range than the camera itself.

Here's the project website if you're not a brain-dead Daily Mail writer.

http://www.rle.mit.edu/first-photon-imaging/

As the website name suggests, the significance of this work is that they can reproduce images using a  single photon at each pixel. If you think about it, this is just about the minimum possible amount of light conceivable for an imaging task (barring something like sampling).

It's true that this is still an active device, and in principle could be detected by a sufficiently sensitive detector the problem would be the false-positive rate. Either your subject is permanently locked in a completely dark room, or there will be enough natural light just about anywhere else to register on your detector. You would need a somewhat sophisticated detector to discriminate this kind of device against natural background light.


Well, *NO*.

The detector at the device needs a single photon to build up a pixel, but very, very few photons that are sent to the target are actually reflected back into the detector.  The vast majority of them are either absorbed (depending on the material) or reflected in a different direction.

That is similar to how radar and radar detectors work:  A radar detector doesn't need to be as sensitive as the receiver at a radar set needs to be because the vast majority of the radio waves transmitted at the target by the radar set aren't reflected back to the radar set:  They are scattered in other directions or absorbed.

This doesn't change that, it just ups the sensitivity of the detector so that it can use a single photon, but that single photon reflected back straight to the detector probably represents thousands or even millions of photons hitting the target.

Doesn't make sense yet?  Go take a laser pointer, and point it at the wall.  You can see that spot on the wall by the photons being reflected back to your eye.  Now, without moving the spot, move your head a foot to the right.  All the photons that have previously been reflected back to your eyes are now passing by your head, and you are seeing photons reflected from a different angle than previously.

You can actually calculate a rough guess of how many photons would be required to transmit to the subject to return a single photon if you know the range to the target and the area of the detector.

Say the distance is 3 meters, and the capture area is a 1 cm2.  We will assume the target is 100% reflective (so no photons are absorbed), and that the photons are scattered up to 180 degrees.

The area of a sphere that is 3,000 centimeters in radius is 113,097,336 square centimeters, so half that would be about 56,548,668.  You'd have to send out nearly 57 million photons in order to detect that one photon that is reflected exactly back to the detector.

It's much easier to detect 57 million photons directly hitting a detector than it is to detect a single photon.

Now, this isn't an *EXACT* number, of course, and there are a bunch of variables, but I'm confident that it's within an order of magnitude of the correct answer.
 
2013-12-02 10:55:52 AM

jigger: Um, don't all cameras work by capturing photons in the air?


Yes. The headline is stupid and inaccurate.
 
2013-12-02 10:56:16 AM
Dear God, that story looked like someone trying to do a parody of Daily Fail science writing. I honestly think the author wasn't quite sure what a photon was, and assumed that his readers had never heard the word.

"Photography using photons? Revolutionary! What will those BOFFINS think of next?!"
 
2013-12-02 11:05:07 AM
Super useful for when you're in complete darkness, so pretty much never.
 
2013-12-02 11:14:55 AM

DubtodaIll: Super useful for when you're in complete darkness, so pretty much never.


Heh.

I used to work in a facility that was underground.  When we lost power, it went black.  You can't imagine the complete blackness that is the total absence of light.
 
2013-12-02 11:16:08 AM

jfarkinB: Dear God, that story looked like someone trying to do a parody of Daily Fail science writing. I honestly think the author wasn't quite sure what a photon was, and assumed that his readers had never heard the word.

"Photography using photons? Revolutionary! What will those BOFFINS think of next?!"


Stealing plans for the Death Star?
 
2013-12-02 11:19:29 AM
Step 2: Porn
 
2013-12-02 11:19:37 AM

dittybopper: DubtodaIll: Super useful for when you're in complete darkness, so pretty much never.

Heh.

I used to work in a facility that was underground.  When we lost power, it went black.  You can't imagine the complete blackness that is the total absence of light.


I've been cave diving a few times, and yeah, complete darkness is very disorienting but still not terribly prevalent.  Did your facility not have emergency generators or flashlights?
 
2013-12-02 11:26:40 AM

AiryAnne: Step 2: Porn



Step 2. is D.O.D.

Step 3. is profit.
 
2013-12-02 11:27:30 AM

DubtodaIll: dittybopper: DubtodaIll: Super useful for when you're in complete darkness, so pretty much never.

Heh.

I used to work in a facility that was underground.  When we lost power, it went black.  You can't imagine the complete blackness that is the total absence of light.

I've been cave diving a few times, and yeah, complete darkness is very disorienting but still not terribly prevalent.  Did your facility not have emergency generators or flashlights?


Oh, yes, but the generators took approximately 30 to 60 seconds to start up and provide power.

Flashlights weren't common, because it was a SCIF*, but there were a few I believe at the MP station and of course in the generator room.  Shift leader on the floor might have had one in his desk.  And there was some emergency lighting, but that was in the hallways and not on the operations floor.

But it was uncommon enough, and the outages short enough, that it was best just to stay where you were until the power came back on.  Longest I can remember it going out was for less than a minute, but 60 seconds in complete blackness feels a heck of a lot longer than it is.

*Anything that could hide a camera, or that you could smuggle documents out with, was looked upon with a jaundiced eye.
 
2013-12-02 11:29:52 AM

dittybopper: DubtodaIll: dittybopper: DubtodaIll: Super useful for when you're in complete darkness, so pretty much never.

Heh.

I used to work in a facility that was underground.  When we lost power, it went black.  You can't imagine the complete blackness that is the total absence of light.

I've been cave diving a few times, and yeah, complete darkness is very disorienting but still not terribly prevalent.  Did your facility not have emergency generators or flashlights?

Oh, yes, but the generators took approximately 30 to 60 seconds to start up and provide power.

Flashlights weren't common, because it was a SCIF*, but there were a few I believe at the MP station and of course in the generator room.  Shift leader on the floor might have had one in his desk.  And there was some emergency lighting, but that was in the hallways and not on the operations floor.

But it was uncommon enough, and the outages short enough, that it was best just to stay where you were until the power came back on.  Longest I can remember it going out was for less than a minute, but 60 seconds in complete blackness feels a heck of a lot longer than it is.

*Anything that could hide a camera, or that you could smuggle documents out with, was looked upon with a jaundiced eye.


Yeah best I can remember from a few times I've experienced it was that my brain was so confused from the complete lack of visual stimulus.  I was as if the visual center of my brain, which up until that moment has always been busy and working, suddenly got a break and didn't know what to do with itself.
 
2013-12-02 11:41:07 AM
A camera doesn't work without some kind of light hitting some sort of detector capable of detecting said light.
It has to either  A:  receive some light already in the area it wishes to take a picture of,
B: send out it's own light to be reflected back to the sensor

Period.  Everything else is variations on a theme.  A camera may use 'non-visible' light (infrared, x-rays, etc) and claim to take pictures in complete darkness, but it's not really true.  It's just using light that is not capable of being seen by the human eye.
 
2013-12-02 11:56:44 AM

dittybopper: Say the distance is 3 meters, and the capture area is a 1 cm2.  We will assume the target is 100% reflective (so no photons are absorbed), and that the photons are scattered up to 180 degrees.

The area of a sphere that is 3,000 centimeters in radius is 113,097,336 square centimeters, so half that would be about 56,548,668.  You'd have to send out nearly 57 million photons in order to detect that one photon that is reflected exactly back to the detector.

It's much easier to detect 57 million photons directly hitting a detector than it is to detect a single photon.

Now, this isn't an *EXACT* number, of course, and there are a bunch of variables, but I'm confident that it's within an order of magnitude of the correct answer.


I'm not disagreeing with your math, but the technique still stands. These guys show that you only *need* one photon per pixel to get accurate reconstructions. Gathering those photons without a single intense light source seems like more of an engineering challenge than a research challenge at this point (for example, their method relies on timed pulses, so send out multiple weak pulses until you get enough data back). A more research-based approach would be to correlate the reception of multiple photons from natural sources to eliminate the need for active scanning.

Also, laser light doesn't diffuse randomly.
 
2013-12-02 12:07:27 PM

Fubini: dittybopper: Say the distance is 3 meters, and the capture area is a 1 cm2.  We will assume the target is 100% reflective (so no photons are absorbed), and that the photons are scattered up to 180 degrees.

The area of a sphere that is 3,000 centimeters in radius is 113,097,336 square centimeters, so half that would be about 56,548,668.  You'd have to send out nearly 57 million photons in order to detect that one photon that is reflected exactly back to the detector.

It's much easier to detect 57 million photons directly hitting a detector than it is to detect a single photon.

Now, this isn't an *EXACT* number, of course, and there are a bunch of variables, but I'm confident that it's within an order of magnitude of the correct answer.

I'm not disagreeing with your math, but the technique still stands. These guys show that you only *need* one photon per pixel to get accurate reconstructions. Gathering those photons without a single intense light source seems like more of an engineering challenge than a research challenge at this point (for example, their method relies on timed pulses, so send out multiple weak pulses until you get enough data back). A more research-based approach would be to correlate the reception of multiple photons from natural sources to eliminate the need for active scanning.

Also, laser light doesn't diffuse randomly.


Actually, I goofed the math up:  Replace the word "centimeter" with "millimeter" and it works, though.

Laser light that hits an object and is then reflected *DOES* diffuse randomly, or nearly so, or you wouldn't be able to see the spot on the wall made by a laser except at very narrow angles.

That's the difference:  A detector that "sees" the laser directly doesn't have to be anywhere near as sensitive as the one that sees the reflection.  A relatively simple detector would let you know if you've been "scanned".
 
2013-12-02 12:17:09 PM

Barfmaker: My camera takes pictures in complete darkness too.

[markleung.com image 361x360]


Ah, I recognize that! "Black Jaguar in Repose. Peruvian Cave, 1997"

Brilliant work, Barfmaker!
 
2013-12-02 12:42:25 PM
"by measuring photon particles in the air"

You mean it's a camera.
 
2013-12-02 12:50:33 PM

IC Stars: Barfmaker: My camera takes pictures in complete darkness too.

[markleung.com image 361x360]

Ah, I recognize that! "Black Jaguar in Repose. Peruvian Cave, 1997"

Brilliant work, Barfmaker!


I assumed it was a gru in it's natural environment, but something didn't seem right.
 
2013-12-02 01:30:40 PM

dittybopper: DubtodaIll: Super useful for when you're in complete darkness, so pretty much never.

Heh.

I used to work in a facility that was underground.  When we lost power, it went black.  You can't imagine the complete blackness that is the total absence of light.


I gather that you never worked in a darkroom (photo processing)...

So yeah, it's actually not that hard to imagine it, or live it... actually any room without a window, it's not a hard thing to close the door and ensure that there's no source of light... including cell phone's LEDs, etc.  Heck there's a closet here at the office that is completely sealed, which I actually used to test an IR-camera at some point.

But I get your point, and yes, if you find yourself in a location with absolutely no light, it's more than just having your eyes closed, it can be (very) disorienting to someone that's not used to it.

And the larger the room, the more disorienting it can be, especially if it's large enough to have a big of echo.
 
2013-12-02 02:07:23 PM
...there's an auto-playing ad somewhere on this page that I can't turn off ... The likely candidate on the right column doesn't have anything that looks like it's playing an audio track. Refreshing the page makes the audio go away or a few minutes, and I've closed all other tabs.
 
2013-12-02 02:31:42 PM

imfallen_angel: I gather that you never worked in a darkroom (photo processing)...


I've never "worked" in one, but I have processed film in one back in the days when Christ was a corporal, at my school.

We were working with black and white film, though, so we had a dim red light.  They hadn't invented color daguerrotypes yet.
 
2013-12-02 02:40:05 PM

dittybopper: imfallen_angel: I gather that you never worked in a darkroom (photo processing)...

I've never "worked" in one, but I have processed film in one back in the days when Christ was a corporal, at my school.

We were working with black and white film, though, so we had a dim red light.  They hadn't invented color daguerrotypes yet.


I used to go spelunking and the absolute and total darkness never ceased to amaze me. The knowledge that if my lights ever died I'd have to sit there until someone came to rescue me was always kind of creepy.
 
2013-12-02 04:20:17 PM
easier and cheap solution
1.  Take ANY CMOS sensor camera such as the one in your cell phone
2.  If it even has a infrared filter, remove it.  Google "removing infrared CMOS sensor filter" for more info.  Many cheap setups do not have such a filter in the first place.
3.  You could go fancy and buy infrared LEDs, or you could just buy a cheap heat bulb(the kind you might use in a lizard cage) from a pet shop and maybe pair it with a cheap light reflector (but that isn't all that necessary).
4.  Leave infrared LED, light bulb, or whatever on.

Congrats your camera can see in the dark as well as if you had the regular lights on.

BTW if you want your camera to ONLY see infrared, then you can make a simple visible light filter by putting 2 small cuts of negative film together and putting them in front of the CMOS sensor such that they "block" it entirely.  Infrared light can still pass through.

I assume all my FARKers will only use this knowledge for good and would not dream of setting up a camera in your (or someone else's) bedroom and then sharing it online with me us.

images.wikia.com
 
2013-12-02 05:09:03 PM
It doesn't do it for me...
 
2013-12-02 05:18:54 PM

bk3k: 3.  You could go fancy and buy infrared LEDs, or you could just buy a cheap heat bulb(the kind you might use in a lizard cage) from a pet shop and maybe pair it with a cheap light reflector (but that isn't all that necessary).


IIRC, many remote controls use IR led's.  That's a thing in similar lifehacker projects.

As to the article, it's neat as a proof of concept may even come in handy with future technology, but as above, it can be accomplished with much simpler means and existing technology with still equal drawbacks and ecm.

Except maybe the 3d aspect.  Is the lidar effect tied to it being the first photon received?
 
2013-12-02 05:57:28 PM

Barfmaker: My camera takes pictures in complete darkness too.

[markleung.com image 361x360]


you should really put pants on before you take pictures like that.
 
2013-12-02 06:18:07 PM

dittybopper: You can't imagine the complete blackness that is the total absence of light.

It's actually not that hard to seal a room and turn off the lights.  Even if you're not 100% sealed, once you flip off the lights it takes kind of a long while before your eyes accommodate to the low level of illumination.  So imagining it really isn't that hard at all
 
2013-12-02 06:20:49 PM
not needed.  Women's locker rooms are always well lighted.

/window seat please
 
2013-12-02 06:21:09 PM

imfallen_angel: So yeah, it's actually not that hard to imagine it, or live it... actually any room without a window, it's not a hard thing to close the door and ensure that there's no source of light... including cell phone's LEDs, etc. Heck there's a closet here at the office that is completely sealed, which I actually used to test an IR-camera at some point.


D'oh, you beat me.  I used to darkroom sometimes (occasionally i still do FOR SCIENCE) and I never liked having to wait a while to see if i could see any breaks in the light seal, track them down and seal them, wait again for my eyes to adjust again, look again, etc, lather, rinse, repeat.  Pain in the sack, it was.
 
2013-12-02 09:32:20 PM

ThatGuyOverThere: dittybopper: You can't imagine the complete blackness that is the total absence of light.
It's actually not that hard to seal a room and turn off the lights.  Even if you're not 100% sealed, once you flip off the lights it takes kind of a long while before your eyes accommodate to the low level of illumination.  So imagining it really isn't that hard at all.

No, it's not the same.  I've done that, and it's not the depth of blackness that comes from zero light.

 
2013-12-02 09:35:21 PM

Barfmaker: My camera takes pictures in complete darkness too.

[markleung.com image 361x360]



About that.....

i478.photobucket.com
 
2013-12-02 10:08:32 PM

dittybopper: imfallen_angel: I gather that you never worked in a darkroom (photo processing)...

I've never "worked" in one, but I have processed film in one back in the days when Christ was a corporal, at my school.

We were working with black and white film, though, so we had a dim red light.  They hadn't invented color daguerrotypes yet.


If you worked with processing negatives, you shouldn't have had any light.

Done right a darkroom really is a dark room... to the point that even a small imperfection in the wall will radiate some light (if the next room is illuminated).

Done right and the dark is so deep that you can even have an anxiety attack, I remember some other people in the darkroom that couldn't last long in there.
 
2013-12-03 09:14:23 AM

imfallen_angel: dittybopper: imfallen_angel: I gather that you never worked in a darkroom (photo processing)...

I've never "worked" in one, but I have processed film in one back in the days when Christ was a corporal, at my school.

We were working with black and white film, though, so we had a dim red light.  They hadn't invented color daguerrotypes yet.

If you worked with processing negatives, you shouldn't have had any light.

Done right a darkroom really is a dark room... to the point that even a small imperfection in the wall will radiate some light (if the next room is illuminated).

Done right and the dark is so deep that you can even have an anxiety attack, I remember some other people in the darkroom that couldn't last long in there.


As I recall, B&W film isn't as sensitive to red light.

(goes and checks)

Yep:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthochromatic

Apparently, the film we used in photography class wasn't panchromatic, which makes sense:  Would you want to put teens in a completely dark space with chemicals?
 
2013-12-03 09:36:07 AM

dittybopper: Apparently, the film we used in photography class wasn't panchromatic, which makes sense: Would you want to put teens in a completely dark space with chemicals?


hmm.. in high school I was in charge of the darkroom (and was teaching it)... and yup... 100% darkness and chemicals...

The only injury was my finger with the paper slicer... a major opps. but didn't lose it.

And the negatives (Panchromatic) I used was sensitive to any light...

I did some tests, including leaving some out for several minutes to see if it would be exposed... and it wouldn't be.
 
2013-12-03 09:40:35 AM
I should mention that the only time that you need total darkness in a darkroom is when handling the negatives, either loading a spool into a distributor/canister loader, or when popping the canister to load the negative in the developing tank.

But it was a very nice thing to just sit on the counter, turn the lights off and relax.
 
2013-12-03 06:57:04 PM

dittybopper: ThatGuyOverThere: dittybopper: You can't imagine the complete blackness that is the total absence of light.
It's actually not that hard to seal a room and turn off the lights.  Even if you're not 100% sealed, once you flip off the lights it takes kind of a long while before your eyes accommodate to the low level of illumination.  So imagining it really isn't that hard at all.

No, it's not the same.  I've done that, and it's not the depth of blackness that comes from zero light.


Well then your eyes must be better than mine because when I'm in a sealed darkroom I can't see any light.  To me it's indistinguishable from the times I was down in caves with the lights off.
 
2013-12-03 09:10:31 PM

ThatGuyOverThere: dittybopper: ThatGuyOverThere: dittybopper: You can't imagine the complete blackness that is the total absence of light.
It's actually not that hard to seal a room and turn off the lights.  Even if you're not 100% sealed, once you flip off the lights it takes kind of a long while before your eyes accommodate to the low level of illumination.  So imagining it really isn't that hard at all.

No, it's not the same.  I've done that, and it's not the depth of blackness that comes from zero light.

Well then your eyes must be better than mine because when I'm in a sealed darkroom I can't see any light.  To me it's indistinguishable from the times I was down in caves with the lights off.


I think you just might be arguing with a goth  or emo kid.  Just sayin'

I've only been in true darkness(and aware of it) a few times.  When you can't tell if your eyes are open or shut aside from the feel of air on them.  Sort of disorienting when the environment is just right and you don't even feel that.

And you are correct.  Eyes take a long time to adjust, it's not all that hard to imagine if you've ever been really close to full dark.  Maybe for people who sleep in the alleys right off the Vegas strip it can be tough.

/been through plenty of power outages
//keep the bedroom near light proof as it is and i live in the countryside

If the power pops at night and you were on fark with it's mostly white background, it's like suddenly being blind.  No led's on power supplies, no moon or starlight through the thick drapes, obviously no yardlight.

Going outside at that point is surreal, because you can see some once your eyes adjust almost regardless of cloudcover.  Of course if it's clouds that would be black in the daytime(ie bad storm) I'm never outside, that's one thing I couldn't attest to, and those typically have lightning.
 
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