Category Archives: Ted Talks

Femto-Photography: One Step Closer to The Star Trek ‘Tricorder’

In the Science Fiction universe of Star Trek, future doctors use a sophisticated device called a “Tricorder”. This device allows physicians to look inside their patients without intrusive surgery, hazardous X-rays or bulky MRI machines.


A diagnostic tool like this could save thousands of lives. The good news is, we probably won’t have to wait until the year 2265.

Researchers are now working in a fascinating new field called Femto-Photography. It is photography at a trillion frames per second. At these kinds of speeds, it is possible to photograph individual packets of light as they move across a room or into an object. It turns out that when we shine light on something, such as a tomato, part of that light penetrates the tomato and reflects back out. Femto-Photography could use this effect to construct an internal image of a patient.

Featured in this fascinating Ted Talk, Ramesh Raskar shows Femto-Photography in action.