Skip to comments.Future contacts could let you see like a superhero
Posted on 03/27/2014 9:33:49 AM PDT by null and void
Contacts made out of graphene could let you detect infrared light
As we all know from generations of reliable Hollywood movies, the ability to see infrared spectrums of light has foiled many an evil plot for many a super-secret spy. But in todays world of Google Glass, GoPros and other such technology, infrared googles suddenly seem cumbersome and obsoleteshouldnt there be something that lets us super-secret spy folk see through walls with just a blink?
Well, since you asked, researchers at the University of Michigan might have come up with a little something:
The team of researchers used something called graphene to create a pinky-nail sized infrared sensor, a substance that allows its wearers to access and see infrared wavelengths. Its a material thats comprised of only a single layer of carbon atoms, and can detect the whole of the infrared light spectrum, as well as ultraviolet light and our own boring visual spectrum.
Sounds perfect for an infrared sensor, begging the question of why its never been used before. Sadly, while graphene is capable of detecting all of those wavelengths of light, the fact that its only one atom thick means that it can only absorb 2.3% of the light that hits itnot enough for an electric signal to be generated for a sensor. Until Michigans team got around it.
Rather than measuring the electrons released when light strikes graphene, the team amplified an electrical current near the electric signals generated by that incoming light, by sandwiching an insulator in between two sheets of the material. They achieved a quantum tunneling effect through that layer, by running an electrical current through the bottom graphene sheet. When light hit the top sheet, the electrons were freed, generating positively charged electron holes and subsequently, the quantum tunneling effect.
Using this technology, the team has been able to develop infrared sensors the size of a pinky nail
or a contact lens. While they have not created actual contacts yet, the team is hopeful about the applications of their innovation, which range from medicalallowing doctors to actually see blood flow; cool but creepyor letting soldiers see in the dark, or, you know, super-spy stuff.
"If we integrate it with a contact lens or other wearable electronics, it expands your vision," said Michigan assistant professor Zhaohui Zhong in a press release. "It provides you another way of interacting with your environment."
Still, were probably more than a few years away from seeing contacts that actually allow commercial users to have superhero infrared vision. But just knowing the possibility exists is kind of exciting, dont you think?
“Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.”
Integrating a heads up display into the contacts or better yet, direct neural induction to the optic nerve, would be an interesting technology.
But this is cool as well. This could be very useful for military applications, surgery, firefighters, even garden planning / horticulture could benefit from this technology.
Seattle’s self-appointed superheroes of the Rain City Superhero Movement, such as Phoenix Jones, Purple Reign, and El Caballero, need technological innovations like these to keep them ahead of the thugs.
Gosh, this is Great News. I’ll need two also by then, within the next few years.
Dang Nully, I sorry! That was classified and I messed up!
By gosh they look to be rose colored.
Sorry to burst anybody’s bubble, but IR does not allow one to “see thru walls.”
I work with IR cameras all the time. All they do is perceive the IR reflected from or emitted by a surface. You can make educated guesses about what is below the surface based on this information. But you simply cannot “see thru” a wall and observe the people moving around inside.
Although there are some interesting capabilities. You can see through fog almost perfectly. Plastic, even “opaque” black plastic, is quite transparent to IR, while most types of glass are mirrors.
You can look at a person’s image and generally tell exactly what type of undergarments they are wearing. Or not.
I’ve never tried it, but I would assume the heat sink created by a hidden gun would show up well under someone’s coat.
Didn’t burst my bubble, still, it would be kewl to be able to spot an overheating bearing or circuit, and night vision (with or without an IR illuminator) doubly so.
Works very well for that. You can even diagnose an electronic chip by observing where it is overheating.