Researchers from Stanford have developed a technique for discovering what’s inside a room through a keyhole by using a pulsing laser. Predictably, it’s called the “keyhole imaging technique.”
The technique depends on a shiny surface on the opposite side of the room. The light bounces off the wall and other objects in the room, then eventually back through the keyhole, where the photons are measured. The Stanford Computational Imaging Lab put out a video you can watch here.
The technique results in rough shapes, but there’s hope that combining the images with machine learning techniques can lead to better identification. In addition, the method is much better at determining movement due to the pulsed laser.
Turning this into a story: what if police officers used the technique during raids?
The protagonist is an officer that’s part of an elite squad tasked with hunting down heist experts. The story starts with the heist, then switches between the perpetrator and the police officers on their tail.
At each step along the way, the pursued leave booby traps in locked rooms with only one entrance—their usual method of getting rid of the police. Except now, with the new technology allowing the police officers to see through the doors, they can avoid the threats and continue the hunt.
By the end of the story, the pursued realize the police officers have a new technique for seeing inside the locked rooms, so they try and set up a fake room. Unfortunately, the team loses a few members, which inspires a final push and retribution when they correctly guess the next step in the escape.
Other books could follow the team as they investigate and pursue other thieves. The new technology plays a part in autonomous vehicles and other applications when the reflective surface requirement isn’t mandatory.