Recently, MIT researcher Ramesh Raskar presented an extraordinary TED talk on femto-photography, “a new type of imaging so fast it visualizes the world one trillion frames per second, so detailed it shows light itself in motion.” This fascinating presentation, which features an ultra-slow motion video of a laser beam passing through a bottle, is a great example of the ability of basic research to inspire us and change the way we think about the world around us.
So why is this video being featured on the AWARE Forum? It is certainly not a video about alerts and warnings. However, in the latter half of the presentation, Mr. Rashkar explains that this new technology now allows a camera to see around corners, with applications for cars to see around busy intersections or firefighters to look into inaccessible bedrooms. This is a great example of basic research having unexpected real-world benefits. These real world applications are years away, but their mention in this video shows that the public safety community has a stake not just in the sometimes frustrating worlds of interoperability and policy, but also in the most advanced technology of our day, including a camera that can take pictures at the speed of light.