Tech: this new American electronic chip allows you to see through objects like Superman

An unusual chip inspired by Superman’s X-ray vision, Clark Kent’s famous super-vision. The beginnings of this technology began in 2022 and was developed by a team from the University of Dallas and Seoul National University. Together, they designed a promising prototype that would make it possible to see through solids.

X-rays, already used in hospitals to carry out x-rays or scanners, have the disadvantage of damaging living tissues or increasing the risk of cancer at high doses. This is why researchers started with CMOS technology, used in many consumer devices (computers, smartphones, etc.) and using signals whose frequency is between 200 and 400 GHz (gigahertz), somewhere between micro -waves and infrared. The result is conclusive: the electronic chip makes it possible to distinguish solid objects through a wall or a cardboard box.

The two disadvantages of this technology were its large size and its very low resolution, limiting its use to laboratory experiments. Scientists have worked to miniaturize it and develop the resolution of the image which now manages to observe details of 0.5 mm2. In the future, the idea is to be able to integrate this chip into smartphones, which would make it possible to develop a whole bunch of new applications (scanning a suspicious package, inspecting pipes, etc.). The medical profession may also need it to carry out preliminary examinations directly in the field.

For the moment, the prototype allows you to see solid objects at short range: around 2 to 3 centimeters and soon images up to 12.5 centimeters away. However, use over a longer distance could be dangerous, because possible criminals could use it to see behind the walls of houses or handbags, to facilitate their actions.