Iranian researcher revolutionizes 3D imaging  

TEHRAN, Apr. 07 (MNA) – CalTech researchers, working under Iranian electrical engineer Ali Hajimiri, are working on a new ‘nanophotonic coherent imager’ (NCI) that can allow users to scan 3D images with just their smartphone.

For making an exact copy of an object with a 3D printer, the first step is to produce a high-resolution scan of the object with a 3D camera that measures its height, width, and depth. While such 3D imaging has been around for decades, the most sensitive systems are generally too large and expensive to be used in consumer applications.

With nanophotonic coherent imager (NCI) – a cheap, compact yet highly accurate new device developed by Iranian electrical engineer Ali Hajimiri and his CalTech researchers- 3D printing technology is gradually becoming more affordable.  

Based on Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology which beams a laser onto a subject and analyzes the light waves reflected back, this tiny NCI chip can measure less than a square millimeter. With the data analyzed, the sensor can provide accurate height, width and depth information for each pixel in the shot.  

While this 3D scanner technology is already found in self-driving cars and robots, Hajimiri’s research will perhaps one day make it possible for users to enjoy 3D imaging just by using their smartphones.

"The small size and high quality of this new chip-based imager will result in significant cost reductions, which will enable thousands of new uses for such systems by incorporating them into personal devices such as smartphones," says Hajimiri.

The study was published in a paper titled ‘Nanophotonic coherent imager’ in the February 2015 issue of Optics Express.



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