UT Dallas discovery could lead to x-ray phones

A pair of researchers at the University of Texas in Dallas have designed a new imaging chip that could turn mobile phones into x-ray devices capable of seeing through walls. According to the researchers, the sensor would be able to see through walls, wood, plastic, paper, and other objects. I don't think I want my daughter going to a school where kids had access to cell phones that can see through walls.

The team says that its research breakthrough is thanks to two advances. Advances include devising a way to tap into an unused range of the electromagnetic spectrum and new microchip technology. The electromagnetic spectrum researchers used as the terahertz band that falls between infrared and microwave.

That terahertz band has traditionally been inaccessible to normal consumer devices. The sensors the team devised can take images with signals created using the terahertz range without having to use lenses inside the device. That development allows the devices to be smaller. The chip used was developed using CMOS technology, which is common today. The researchers also note that this terahertz range can be used for medical imaging to detect tumors and more. There is no indication of when the technology might be ready for consumer devices.

"We've created approaches that open a previously untapped portion of the electromagnetic spectrum for consumer use and life-saving medical applications," said Dr. Kenneth O, professor of electrical engineering at UT Dallas and director of the Texas Analog Center of Excellence(TxACE). "The terahertz range is full of unlimited potential that could benefit us all."

[via UT Dallas]