I saw this yesterday for the first time, a couple of days after the Daily Mail wrote about it, but the TED video has been up almost a month, and has over 460,000 views. It’s long, but worth every moment of time. The wizards of MIT have developed a camera that takes video at one trillion frames per second, a huge leap that now allows researchers to see how light travels. The result is a spectacular and detailed video progression that shows how photons travel, break apart, get absorbed, and bounce repeatedly within an infinitesimal space of time.
Professor Ramesh Raskar jokes that it won’t be long before the camera gets fitted into cell phones, but there aren’t too many practical uses for this kind of video sequencing. Professor Raskar references a famous film that showed a real bullet piercing an apple, with a camera that shot film at 10,000 frames per second. If the same experiment was used with the “femto-camera,” the resulting video played back at the normal 30 fps would take a full year to view … and it would look pretty dull as well.
Be sure to watch it all the way through. It will warm the cockles of all geeky hearts. But if they do have a practical use, maybe the NFL could use them for replay. I’m sure we would have seen the Colts’ Andrew Luck’s slide start at the 1-yard line on that 4th-down play against the Steelers last week — and the replay process would only take eight months to complete. That’s about the time it takes now, right?