By combining purpose-built materials and neural networks, researchers at EPFL have shown that sound can be used in high-resolution imagery.
Imaging allows us to depict an object through far-field analysis of the light- and sound-waves that it transmits or radiates. The shorter the wave, the higher the image’s resolution. However, the level of detail is limited by the size of the wavelength in question – until now. Researchers at EPFL’s Laboratory of Wave Engineering have successfully proven that a long, and therefore imprecise, wave (in this case a sound wave) can elicit details that are 30 times smaller than its length. To achieve this, the research team used a combination of metamaterials – specifically-engineered elements – and artificial intelligence. Their research, which has just been published in Physical Review X, is creating exciting new possibilities, particularly in the fields of medical imaging and bioengineering.
The team’s groundbreaking idea was to bring together two separate technologies that have previously pushed the boundaries of imaging. One of these is metamaterials: purpose-built elements that can, for example, focus wavelengths precisely. That said, they are known to lose their effectiveness by haphazardly absorbing signals in a way that makes them difficult to decipher. The other is artificial intelligence, or more specifically neural networks that can quickly and efficiently process even the most complex information, although there is a learning curve involved.
Source: ” Deep learning and metamaterials make the invisible visible”, Anne-Muriel Brouet, EPFL News