MIT Lets You Judge a Book By Reading Through Its Cover
Judging a book by its cover will soon be a thing of the past thanks to MIT. A group of researchers, with help from folks at Georgia Tech, have just figured out a way to read a closed book. So now you can judge a book through its cover.
They created a camera that uses terahertz radiation, a band of electromagnetic radiation between microwaves and infrared light. It works like this: the radiation reflects from the air pockets between a book’s pages. An algorithm times how long it takes for the radiation to reach each air pocket, enabling it to calculate when the radiation jumps between pages.
Then, the camera’s detector shows images from the individual pages, which are interpreted by the algorithm to decipher the layers of funky, distorted letters. It can read through the first nine pages of a book before the letters become unreadable.
The researchers published their findings in the journal Nature Communications last week. The group included Barmak Heshmat, Ramesh Raskar, and Albert Redo Sanchez of MIT, and Justin Romberg and Alireza Aghasi of Georgia Tech. Heshmat reflected on their letter-interpretation algorithm in a statement.
“It’s actually kind of scary,” said Heshmat. “A lot of websites have these letter certifications (captchas) to make sure you’re not a robot, and this algorithm can get through a lot of them.”
Rather than be used for evil, the technology will come in handy for historians and museum technicians working with fragile antique documents and books. No word on if the camera will prove harmful to diary keepers.