Reading Closed Books Now A Possibility With Terahertz Radiation

Bookstores are rapidly going out of business, especially with the rise of eBooks and tablets. You can purchase an eBook and audiobook through your phone and the best part is that they only take up a few cloud or digital space.

But researchers from MIT and Georgia Tech are making old books exciting again because they are designing a way to read books when they're closed. 

A prototype for this ingenious system was described through a paper posted in the journal of Nature Communications on Friday. In their recent study, it correctly identified the letters of a 9-page book in a stack with each sheet containing one letter printed on it.

Many showed a lot of interest in this, especially the Metropolitan Museum of New York, according to co-author and research scientist Barmak Heshmat, because they want to look into some antique books they don't even want to touch. So in this aspect, it's an amazing scientific breakthrough so far.

The system uses Terahertz Radiation which is the "sending tight bunches of electrons at nearly the speed of light through a magnetic field causes the electrons to radiate T-rays at a trillion cycles per second.", according to Lightsource. Further, it can distinguish between pen and paper unlike X-Ray and it gives better depth resolution compared to ultrasound. The system is able to distinguish between pen and paper because pen and ink bend light at different degrees, along with the 20-micron deep air pockets in between the pages.

Researchers have to filter out the background hum which the sensor produces. Admittedly, some radiation bounces between pages and returns to the sensor with false signals.

MIT developed the algorithms that recieve images between sheets and Georgia Tech developed algorithms that interpret these distorted or incomplete images. Researchers are now aiming to improve the system's accuracy when detecting these images and working on identifying beyond nine pages.

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