Electrical engineers at the University of Texas in Dallas are working on new technology that might confer upon cellular phones the ability to see through walls.
Dr. Kenneth O, professor of electrical engineering at UT Dallas, and his team have apparently made some scientific advances that could see handsets doing just that. The team have hit on a way to get CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor) chips fabricated that work on the terahertz range. Terahertz scanners do exist and are able to look through objects but they tend to be bulky affairs, limited by their energy requirements and need for several lenses. The researchers are now able to build a high speed Schottky diode using CMOS manufacturing techniques that is capable of reached the terahertz range without the need for the extra hardware.
Dr. O said “CMOS is affordable and can be used to make lots of chips. The combination of CMOS and terahertz means you could put this chip and a transmitter on the back of a cellphone, turning it into a device carried in your pocket that can see through objects.” The possible applications for such a feature include rapid communication on the terahertz frequency, medical diagnosis, and detection of hardened points inside walls in the case of the construction industry, among others.
Dr. O and his team have said that they are currently focusing on a limited range for the ‘look through solid objects’ function that their new advances might permit, citing privacy concerns for the restricted 4 inch or less range.