By Andrew Liszewski
The NHK, the Japanese public broadcaster, has always been an innovator when it comes to television technologies. I mean you can basically thank them for ‘inventing’ HDTV. But this time around they’ve been showing off a new Millimeter-wave technology camera at their 80th annual Open House that can actually see through walls.
The camera works a bit like radar, sending out 60GHz millimeter radio waves (the same kind used in modern airport full-body security scanners) and then capturing the reflected waves using a high-speed beam scanning antenna to produce a 2D image. By analyzing the propagation delay of the reflected waves, which essentially provides depth information about what’s being shot, the system can be tuned to ignore obstacles in front of or behind the subject, as is demonstrated in the video below where the camera ‘sees’ a pair of moving mannequins behind a piece of plywood.
According to the NHK, practical applications of the technology include news crews being able to film through smoke during an emergency, but hopefully they’re inclined to license it out to emergency rescue personnel as well.