Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 11:53 am
My pal Erik Olsen at The New York Times has just described an extraordinary new way to look at people. You point a camera at someone, record the image and then, using an "amplifier," you can discover things you've never seen before.
Originally designed to look (but not touch) brand new babies, to monitor their breathing, Professor William Freeman's team at MIT realized their "Eulerian Video Magnification" technique can measure small color changes and very slight movements on the surface of a body to measure what's going on inside. You can point this machine at someone trapped in building collapse and figure out if he's still breathing. You can watch a Batman movie and see actor Christian Bale's heart beating!
"Once we amplify these small motions, there's a whole new world you can look at," says Professor Freeman.
That's putting it mildly.