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MIT researchers can read a book without opening the cover

By Shawn Knight · 26 replies
Sep 11, 2016
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  1. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a prototype imaging system that’s able to read pages of a book without opening it.

    A decade ago, a group at MIT demonstrated the ability to look through a sealed envelope using terahertz waves – the band of electromagnetic radiation between microwaves and infrared light. The project led Barmak Heshmat, a present-day research scientist at MIT’s Media Lab, to question just how deep one could look through a closed book using terahertz waves.

    Working closely with researchers from Georgia Tech, Heshmat and company have demonstrated the ability to identify letters up to nine pages deep. As technology continues to advance, the team no doubt hopes to be able to peer deeper into a book without opening it.

    In terms of practicality, the team says the technique could be used to study ancient books that are so fragile that they can’t be opened without risk of destroying their contents.

    A paper on the matter, Terahertz time-gated spectral imaging for content extraction through layered structures, has been published in Nature Communications for those interested in learning more.

    Found is a TechSpot feature where we share clever, funny or otherwise interesting stuff from around the web.

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  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,204   +1,873

    "In terms of practicality, the team says the technique could be used to study ancient books that are so fragile that they can’t be opened without risk of destroying their contents."

    This comment alone peaked my curiosity. Considering the number of books too fragile to open, which would include age, damage, water saturation and a host of others, it would be amazing. The dead sea scrolls certainly would yield even more information than we already have. And of course, if they make a portable version, I will be able to check the wife's checkbook without ever having to touch it! Talk about avoiding certain death!!!!
    Reehahs and Trillionsin like this.
  3. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Terahertz waves is the visible spectrum lol.
  4. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,492   +665

    The Dead Sea Scrolls have been opened... if you go to Israel, you can actually see them... but yes, this technology would be pretty awesome for other texts that are actually unopened...
  5. batsdude

    batsdude TS Member Posts: 52   +16

    It's got so much potential for more government, and actually potential blackmail, invasiveness. The feds, nor any law agency for that matter, would not longer actually even need a warrant to open your mail. Privacy is rapidly becoming a term synonymous with a joke. Orwell could not possibly have ever imagine just how far this has gone!
  6. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,575   +248

    I don't believe you are right here on this. I'm sorry. It's my understanding that these waves are between infrared and microwaves, which is "above" the visible spectrum.
    Jerry John likes this.
  7. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,575   +248

    Privacy is already a joke. At least, in the world of technology. You can bury yourself in a hole and stick your thumb up your *** and nobody would know, still... but said hole would have to be void of all technology, this should be assumed. lol
  8. ClintNotYou

    ClintNotYou TS Rookie

    Hello, pretty sure the "ancients" meant for their books to be opened. Just open the damn things and use this for the pages that stick together and won't open. Don't worry, the NSA already owns this technology. They just let MIT do the dirty work for them.
  9. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,492   +665

    Lol... they don't need this technology to look at your mail... they just open your mail and reseal it... And yes, the ancients meant to have their books opened - but not 3 thousand years later.... opening some ancient texts can cause them to disintegrate - this tech would be invaluable to researchers...
  10. Row1

    Row1 TS Guru Posts: 343   +13

    Combine this with the 2016 news story that the very earliest copies of parts of the New Testament may have been re-purposed into family burial masks in Egypt. In that news story, the innovations was that they had figured out a way to separate layers of material without damaging the writing.

    Maybe they can just terahertz the masks and find all kinds of things.

    Many of us believe the Bible is true, and we believe that based on a review of historical information. This bothers a lot of people, so many conspiracy theories have been developed to account for the rise of Christianity not along the lines of the Bible, but per the conspiracy theories.

    Most of the conspiracy theories are easily refuted. Others are just absurd. But when more copies of the four Gospels are found - even fragments - and can be fairly well dated, it just builds the evidence for the Bible story, and refuting the conspiracy theories.

    One conspiracy theory is that there was some local hero in Jerusalem, and Paul and conspirators decided to build the idea that the Old Testament includes messianic prophecy and that this guy fulfilled all of the prophecies. Another is that Josephus and conspirators did the same. Yet another is that the story began with a kernel of truth, and grew like a fish tale, to arrive at a prophesied, resurrected redeemer sometime after AD200.

    Well, we will certainly get new information as science progresses.

  11. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,492   +665

    Ok.... I would think seeing more copies of the gospel would confirm that much of the story must be untrue as each gospel has fundamental differences.....

    But I'd be leaving religion out of a tech website... I'm pretty sure that religion has a restraining order forcing them to stay 500 metres away from science at all times...
  12. matthank

    matthank TS Rookie

    "peaked my curiosity"

    PIQUED...please pardon pedantry
  13. Row1

    Row1 TS Guru Posts: 343   +13

    Thanks for the response. So, are you saying that there are fundamental differences in the four gospels, and based on these differences that the story of Jesus' death and resurrection cannot be true? Can you note differences? I can help you see how a lot of propagandists have seemingly developed "fundamental differences" that aren't really "fundamental differences."

    Also, you don't quite have a grasp of the difference between striving to find scientific truths and striving to find historical truths.

    When Intel strives to figure out how to make the connections between their transistors be even smaller, they depend on scientific truths, such as what is known of conductivity of different metals and alloys, and the involved magnetic interference.

    They can measure and replicate those things.

    History cannot be repeated. It has already happened. People argue over whether the Civil War was fought for slavery or not, but we cannot evaluate this scientifically: we cannot state our predictions a priori, then run an observation and see of the outcomes match our predictions.

    So, establishing the truth of a historical matter is not a matter of "science."

    Science can help. You can cut DNA into pieces, then place it on a medium, and add an electric charge, and the smaller pieces will be pulled farther across the gel medium than the bigger pieces. This is replicable. This is science. If you do this to the DNA of two people, the pattern will be different. If you do this to one person twice, the pattern will be the same. This is all replicable.

    You can then use the DNA science-based information to prove a murder, a one-time historical event.

    Otherwise, you can try to solve it with history and logic. Did the person have a motive, were they historically in the area, and so on.

    Most of the time when commenters make light of Biblical truths, they have their epistemology and evidence all wrong.

    Often, ridicule is used to try to win the argument - false statements such as "restraining order." There is no restraining order. But if you want to note some "fundamental differences" that, logically or historically demonstrate that the existence of Jesus, his death, and resurrection, are false stories, please post a note and I will look it over.
  14. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,492   +665

    I was simply trying to point out that religion has no place on a tech website.... I apologize for the humour, I see that you don't appreciate it...But while there might be evidence to support that a man named Jesus may have existed, there can be no scientific evidence to suggest he was resurrected or that he was the son of God.... You need to have faith to believe that - I don't, but I have no beef with anyone who does... Just don't bother with that stuff here.
  15. Row1

    Row1 TS Guru Posts: 343   +13

    I don't have a problem with humor. Insulting, unsupported comments are simply insulting and unsupported comments.
    BTW: good job of "moving the goalposts:" the "fundamental differences" are a distant memory.

    I am not too concerned about your opinions and your faith in a Godless universe, as improbable as that faith is, but in the long run other people will read what we comment here, and they will be able to reflect on the reasoning and sensibility of any comments. Either way, God does love you and thinks about you all of the time.
  16. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,492   +665

    Ahhh... so now you're gonna go on the offense... thought you were too pious to be true...
    Let me be VERY clear then... there are EXTREMELY inconsistent stories in each Gospel... the fact that all 4 were transcribed at least a century AFTER Jesus was crucified would disqualify all of them as being proper historical sources.

    The fact that there are others that were excluded from the "true Gospel" simply shows the divisions in the church at that time... Whether or not God exists is (or at least should be) irrelevant on a tech website... God's existence can never be proved except by faith - which is clearly not a scientific approach.

    My attempt at humour (taken from The Simpsons - I didn't make that line up) simply tried to show you (and perhaps others) the futility of arguing religion by using science... Science and Religion have no place together - one simply disproves the other... I believe in science myself, but you are free to believe whatever you want.
  17. Row1

    Row1 TS Guru Posts: 343   +13

    "All four gospels were transcribed at least a century after the crucifixion" - Apparently we both believe they were transcribed.

    But I don't understand the point of this statement. The fact that the existing gospels may have been written at least a hundred years after the crucifixion does not, necessarily, discredit them. If they are the earliest that exist, then we should strive to figure out what we can about them. If the terahertz technology gives us earlier pieces, then that will be even more welcome.

    Maybe they might settle the "EXTREMELY inconsistent stories."
  18. Jerry John

    Jerry John TS Rookie

    Terahertz are not in the visible spectrum, they are between microwaves and infrared, neither of which are visible to the human eye. It takes a 1 minute google search to educate yourself, please do that next time you comment like this.
  19. WiPhiDai

    WiPhiDai TS Rookie

    No, Terahertz is between infrared (invisible) and microwave(invisible) which is on the far side of infrared from visible light. None of the waves they are using are visible to the naked eye.
  20. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,492   +665

    Lol, all they would do is make people less likely to believe in God - except for those who have blind faith, like yourself...
  21. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,575   +248

    Yea, you are pardoned, but you missed correcting the guy that said, "Terahertz waves is the visible spectrum lol."
  22. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Please do the math. Visible light is in the realm of terahertz frequencies and is usually considered as such.
  23. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,575   +248

    You might want to post some links to information relating to that, definitely not the popular belief here. Not saying you are wrong, but that I looked it up as well as a couple others in here, and that what it seems to be. If we're wrong, please educate us.
  24. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    F = c/lambda, so green is about 540 terahertz.
    I wouldn't think they used visible light in either article though.**
  25. docesam

    docesam TS Rookie

    All 3 letter agencies probably had this technology for years.
    Slhvirgo74 likes this.

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