What does a new imaging technique have in common with self-driving cars?

A new technology developed by researchers at MIT could have implications in two vastly different fields: medical imaging and self-driving cars.

The technology is a camera with an algorithm that uses light and time to create a picture of what might be responsible for scattering that light. It senses how long it takes certain photons to reach the lens and can then figure out what shape and kind of material the light passed through.

In self-driving cars, the technology could be useful to keep vehicles “aware” of their surroundings, even in rain or fog.

And in medical imaging, the camera can calculate how much human tissue scattered the light moving through the body. And based on that pattern of light scattering, the algorithm will be able to see what is in or around that tissue.

Check out Phys.org to see how exactly the camera measures photons and is able to use that information to create an accurate picture of the matter that has interacted with those photons.