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The DHS' "Eye of the Lobster" Device

11/20/07 | Back

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has unveiled that is working with Physical Optics Corp of Torrance, CA to develop the “Eye of the Lobster” or LEXID. The LEXID is a handheld low powered X-ray imaging device that would be used to look through walls and inside of crates and boxes and such. It is based though on how lobster’s eyes function to see through silt. This is what the DHS Science & Technology Snapshots Newsletter had to say about it:

“Take the lobster. Here you have a crustacean with an amazingly miniscule brain, yet this creature is able to "see" through walls of dense water obscured by silt and sand... Lobsters have limited image resolution, but possess high sensitivity and the ability to detect fast movement and the polarisation of light.

Over eons, this bottom crawler developed compound eyes to view its world through a large number of long, narrow square-shaped cells, arranged in a spherical array with a 180° field of view. Any light the lobster takes advantage of down there is reflected from very highly reflective walls of the cells over a wide range of angles of incidence to form a fast focus.

Each cell captures that small amount of light, which then enters the lobster’s eye from all angles. The light from these cells is then focused to form a single, intensified image. This is some eye-opening stuff.”

A device with this sort of potential may potentially in the future enable groups like the Neighborhood Network Watch to see directly through buildings and into businesses, people’s homes, and coverings that may conceal wireless routers as well as to allow a more precise locational awareness.

Image of LEXID

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