TED talk of the day: Watching light in slow motion at a trillion frames per second
In 1964 MIT professor Harold Edgerton, pioneer of stop-action photography, famously took a photo of a bullet piercing an apple using exposures as short as a few nanoseconds. Inspired by his work, Ramesh Raskar and his team set out to create a camera that could capture not just a bullet (traveling at 850 meters per second) but light itself (nearly 300 million meters per second).
Stop a moment to take that in: photographing light as it moves. For that, they built a camera and software that can visualize pictures as if they are recorded at 1 trillion frames per second. The same photon-imaging technology can also be used to create a camera that can peer “around” corners , by exploiting specific properties of the photons when they bounce off surfaces and objects.
You may have seen a hard drive spinning and reading without a protective case, but it’s so fast, it’s hard to see what it’s doing. Fortunately, here’s a hard drive doing its thing in super slow motion to capture all the nuances of its data retrieval.