Now, mobile phones to offer X-ray vision
Researchers at the University of South Australia have developed mobile phone software that can offer X-ray vision to see what's on the other side of the building in front of you.
Christian Sandor said that the application works by using the phone's camera, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
He said that users can point the camera at a building and an image of it would appear on the screen. Then, the image would change to show what was behind the building, as if it was no longer there, Sandor said.
Sandor said the research group collaborated with Nokia to build the application, which it hoped could be introduced in the next two years.
The technology, known as augmented reality, appears to be X-ray vision, but in reality it uses pictures and images that already exist in databases such as Google Earth and Google Streetview.
Sandor said that the application needs two pieces of information: 3D model of the area or city the phone user is in and the user's exact position.
He said that a 3D model of a city could be built using information collected from aerial surveys.
Survey planes capture the shape and size of the buildings in a city. That data is merged with images from databases to complete the 3D model.
GPS is used to work out the user's exact position. Once the software knows this information, it uses information and images from the 3D model to display a picture of what is behind the building.
Sandor said that the technology could not be used to see into people's houses because only the exterior views of buildings and streets were held in the databases.