Tuesday, September 1, 2015

NTT taps terahertz tech to boost visibility through smoke

The Japan Times



Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. and Tokyo University of Science have developed a basic technology that secures visibility in smoke by using tremendously high-frequency electromagnetic waves, Jiji Press learned on Tuesday.
NTT aims to put the technology of terahertz waves, whose frequency is some 1,000 times higher than radio waves for mobile phones, into practical use in the mid-2020s. If realized, the new technology would help speed up rescue work at fires.
In the developed method, lighting equipment employing terahertz waves is used to view a target object with an eyeglasses-style device equipped with a special camera.
At the site of a fire, terahertz waves, whose wavelengths are long, can penetrate farther than visible light, which is blocked by particles of smoke, helping visualize the target, according to NTT officials.
The waves are less harmful to the human body than X-rays, which can also penetrate, the officials said.
In the current experimental stage, visibility in highly smoky conditions is limited to only about 1 meter. NTT aims to lengthen the distance to some 10 meters or more.
The Japanese company plans to urge terahertz lighting devices to be installed in tunnels and buildings.
The technology will help rescue operations at the time of accidents in tunnels and other places, a researcher at NTT said.

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