The U.S. military wants to help its soldiers be prepared for threats they can't see by equipping them with technology that gives them the ability to see through walls.
This new tech, called the Revolutionary Enhancement of Visibility by Exploiting Active Light-fields (REVEAL) system, is designed to give soldiers X-ray vision through manipulation of photons, the fundamental particles of light that contains information that can't be seen by the human eye or cameras, according to Discovery News.
The hope for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is for soldiers to be ready for enemies hiding behind barriers and other threats they can't see, as the military's current equipment doesn't prepare soldiers for every situation.
"Imagine, for example, squad members patrolling a street in a deployed urban environment, and an armed assailant crouching behind a car or a concrete barrier," DARPA explained in a statement. "Without the benefit of different vantage points (from the air, for example), the squad could be blind to the hidden threat."
While DARPA says today's optical imaging systems are limited in their ability to measure light intensity and may ignore potentially helpful information that captured light might be carrying, photons can provide data about the presence of a living being as well as information about radioactive data and chemical threats, Discovery News reported.
DARPA wants the REVEAL system to be able to construct a 3-D image of a scene from a single vintage point, Nextgov reported.
Predrag Milojkovic, a program manager in DARPA's Defence Sciences Office, said this technology could "effectively allow 'flying through the scene' without changing one's physical location."
One situation where the REVEAL system could be helpful is figuring out what is in an unknown package from a far distance to keep soldiers safe.
The REVEAL system is currently in its early stages and will be built in two 24-month phases, Nextgov reported. The first phase will focus on the limits of single-viewpoint scene reconstruction, and the second will focus on collecting information on photons.