Big Data Might Just Help You See Through Walls

October 18, 2017

It might sound like science fiction or, worse, like a waste of time, but scientists are developing cameras that can see around corners. More importantly, these visual aids will fill in our human blind spots. According to an article in MIT News, “An Algorithm For Your Blind Spot,” it may have a lot of uses, but needs some serious help from big data and search.

According to the piece about the algorithm, “CornerCameras,”

CornerCameras generates one-dimensional images of the hidden sceneA single image isn’t particularly useful since it contains a fair amount of “noisy” data. But by observing the scene over several seconds and stitching together dozens of distinct images, the system can distinguish distinct objects in motion and determine their speed and trajectory.

Seems like a pretty neat tool. Especially, when you consider that this algorithm could help firefighters find people in burning buildings or help bus drivers spot a child running onto the street. However, it is far from perfect.

The system still has some limitations. For obvious reasons, it doesn’t work if there’s no light in the scene, and can have issues if there’s low light in the hidden scene itself. It also can get tripped up if light conditions change, like if the scene is outdoors and clouds are constantly moving across the sun. With smartphone-quality cameras the signal also gets weaker as you get farther away from the corner.

Seems like they have a brilliant idea in need of a big data boost. We can envision a world where these folks partner with big data and search giants to help fill in the gaps of the algorithm and provide a powerful tool that can save lives. Here’s to hoping we’re not the only ones making that connection.

Patrick Roland, October 18, 2017


One Response to “Big Data Might Just Help You See Through Walls”

  1. Luann on October 25th, 2017 2:12 pm

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