Laser sensing technology to evolve our future world

Laser sensing technology to evolve our future world

A new period on 3-D imaging technology could one day enable self-driving car to blemish a child in the street half a block away, let you answer your Smartphone from across the room with a wave of your hand, or play “Games” on your driveway.

The new system, developed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, can remotely sense objects across distances as long as 30 feet, 10 times farther than what could be done with analogous current low-power laser systems. With further development, the technology could be used to make smaller, cost-effective 3-D imaging systems that proffer exceptional range for potential use in self-driving cars, smart phones and interactive video games like Microsoft’s Kinect, all without the need for big, bulky boxes of electronics or optics.

“While meter-level operating distance is sufficient for many conventional metrology instruments, the sweet spot for rising consumer and robotics applications is around a meters” or just over 30 feet, says UC Berkeley’s Behnam Behroozpour, who will present the team’s work at CLEO: 2014, being held June 8-13 in San Jose, California, USA. “This range covers the size of typical living spaces while avoiding extreme power dissipation and possible eye safety concerns.”

Current lasers used in high-resolution LIDAR imaging can be large, power-hungry and expensive. Gaming systems require big, bulky boxes of equipment, and you have to stand within a few feet of the system for them to work properly, Behroozpour says. Bulkiness is also a problem for driverless cars such as Google’s, which must carry a large 3-D camera on its roof.

 

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