Reading through the Closed Book using an Imaging System

Reading books is one of the finest pleasures one can afford. Reading open books is common and there is no amusement in it. The researchers from MIT and Georgia Tech have come together to design an imaging system. Imaging system makes possible reading closed books.

A study performed by the researchers have been published in the journal Nature Communications.  The study revealed the prototype for the ingenious system that correctly identified the letters from the closed book. The closed book had nine sheets with a letter printed on each sheet.

MIT researchers developed algorithms that receive images from individual sheets and researchers from Georgia Tech developed algorithms that interpret distorted or incomplete images.

The system uses terahertz radiation, which unlike X-Rays, can distinguish between ink and paper. It also gives better depth resolution when compared to ultrasound. Paper and ink bend light at a different degree, which helps the system in distinguishing between them. The 20-micron deep air pockets between the pages help the system differentiate between the pages of a book.

The researchers explain that there are four important things for the imaging system to work efficiently:

  1. The system should be able to have a radiation that can penetrate through the book. For the same, the pages need to be transparent to a certain extent.
  2. Time resolution– the system should be able to distinguish one page from the other and that is possible only through time resolution. Femto-photography enables the system to distinguish between tiny objects and thereby, also two thin pages of a book.
  3. Should have the info regarding different inks. Primarily because the system must possess the quality to understand and recognise the ink
  4. Identifying the characters itself. There are shadows of the of the letters formed on the next page. Hence, Femto-photography plays a crucial role here too. It can capture certain types of images trillionths of seconds apart. Enabling the system to make out if the character belonged to that page or to the other one.

Barmak Heshmat said, “The Metropolitan Museum in New York showed a lot of interest in this because they want to, for example, look into some antique books that they don’t even want to touch.” Barmak Heshmat is a co-author of the paper and a research scientist at the MIT Media Lab. He added that the new system can analyze materials organized in thin layers.

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Shobith MAKAM Written by: