Stanford researchers develop technique to see objects hidden around corners

Graduate student David Lindell and Matt O’Toole, a post-doctoral scholar, work in the lab. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)
March 2018

A driverless car is making its way through a winding neighborhood street, about to make a sharp turn onto a road where a child’s ball has just rolled. Although no person in the car can see that ball, the car stops to avoid it. This is because the car is outfitted with extremely sensitive laser technology that reflects off nearby objects to see around corners.

“It sounds like magic but the idea of non-line-of-sight imaging is actually feasible,” said Gordon Wetzstein, assistant professor of electrical engineering and senior author of the paper describing this work, published March 5 in Nature.