Feature

The 'miraculous' camera that captures the speed of light

M.I.T. scientists have created an imaging system capable of reducing the movement of light into slow-motion movies

The video: Slow-motion video is everywhere, but this is something new entirely. Scientists at M.I.T.'s Media Lab have created a complex imaging system capable of tracking a small sliver of light in video at 1 trillion frames per second. The researchers used over 500 camera sensors, mirrors, and "streak tubes" to meticulously document light's movement through objects and liquids, filming for hours on end to splice together short slow-motion movies. (Watch the video below.) Despite the obvious wow-factor, the creators of this technology say it has applications far beyond YouTube, such as in medical imaging devices using light-based ultrasound.

The reaction: Since nothing moves faster than the speed of light, the fact that researchers were able to capture light's progress in slow motion is "nothing short of miraculous," says Peter Pachal at Mashable. This just blows the fastest frame rates on the fastest cameras out of the water. If "your mind's not already blown," says Jared Newman at TIME, consider the fact that you would "need an entire lifetime to watch one tenth of a second of footage on this camera" before the end-result is cobbled together. This camera's no point and shoot. See for yourself:

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