Real-time video of scenes hidden around corners is now possible

As Ji Hyun Nam slowly tosses a stuffed cat toy into the air, a real-time video captures the playful scene at a 20th century webcam clip — a mere five frames per second.

The twist? Nam is hidden around the corner from the camera. The video of the stuffed animal was created by capturing light reflected off a wall to the toy and bounced back again in a science-fiction-turned-reality technique known as non-line-of-sight imaging.

And at five frames per second, the video is a blazing fast improvement on recent hidden-scene imaging that previously took minutes to reconstruct a stationary image.

The new technique uses many ultra-fast and highly sensitive light sensors and an improved video reconstruction algorithm to greatly speed the time it takes to display the hidden scenes. The University of Wisconsin–Madison researchers who created the video say the new advance opens up the technology to affordable, real-world applications of both near and distant scenes.

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