Get ready to be able to see if you have a broken bone with your smartphone

Caltech engineers make a microchip capable of seeing through solid objects, could be put in smartpho.

Published Wed, Dec 12 2012 8:28 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 12:25 PM CST

Caltech engineers have developed a cheap X-ray technology that will allow it to see through solid materials. The engineers, Ali Hajimiri and Kaushik Sengupta, have tweaked silicon microchips to emit terahertz waves. These high power waves can go through solid materials and send back an image of what is inside.

Get ready to be able to see if you have a broken bone with your smartphone |

The wave used by the engineers is also quite a bit safer than ionizing X-rays, and has actually been used for a while now. Current systems, however, are bulky and costly. This new chip uses a microchip like you would already find in your phone, making it cheap and compact and able to be put into a mobile device.

"We are not just talking about a potential," Hajimiri said. "We have actually demonstrated that this works. The first time we saw the actual images, it took our breath away."

Think about the potential. You twist your ankle and think it's broken. Now you can do a quick check to see if it is. If you're not sure, you could send the image off to your doctor who could respond via text whether you need to come in or not. This, along with many other uses, make this an awesome advancement of technology.


Trace is a starving college student studying Computer Science. He has a love of the English language and an addiction for new technology and speculation. When he's not writing, studying, or going to class, he can be found on the soccer pitch, both playing and coaching, or on the mountain snowboarding.

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