X-Rays? Nope. More Like Laser Echolocation!

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any crazier…

Aaryan Harshith
9 min readJul 8, 2020

Dear you,

If you’ve been on the internet (ever), you’ve probably seen this term being thrown around a lot:

“Exponential Technologies.”

WWhen you hear that buzz word, what comes to mind? Let me guess — maybe you thought of big-hitters like AI, alternative energy, or even colonizing the final frontier with space exploration. At least, those were some of the highly-publicized, controversial, and obvious ones.

But what about the one that’s staring you in the face? No, I’m not talking about the consumer electronics revolution that was responsible for your handy-dandy PC or phone. I’m talking about the thousands of LEDs and electronic light sources that power your screen, and the billions more that you might not even notice all around you.

From lightbulbs to neon signs, to lasers built to shoot planes straight out of the sky — every time you’ve ever experienced light, you can thank the (insanely) underrated field of photonics.

Well, even if photonics might be underrated today, it feels like the tip of a massive iceberg. A whole lot similar to the revolutions that happened with factories, cars, and computers.

Out of its many applications, and the countless more we haven’t even discovered, some of the most interesting ones could impact medicine. And no, I’m not talking about getting more vitamin D from the sun.

So that begs the question, where in the world does the field of photonics intersect with medical imaging? The short answer is a lot of places.

Medical Imaging 101:

It all started with a “little” discovery. To be more specific, the start of such a massive technological revolution began with a finding that dated back as early as 1880 by some guy named Alexander Graham Bell (you might’ve heard of him before).

Bell was experimenting with how he could transmit sound waves over long distances, through a device he called a “photophone.” Graham Bell observed how light could interact with objects, cause them to…



Aaryan Harshith

I write about things every week(ish).