Laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI) has emerged over the past decade as a powerful, yet simple, method for imaging of blood flow dynamics in real time. The rapid adoption of LSCI for physiological studies is due to the relative ease and low cost of building an instrument as well as the ability to quantify blood flow changes with excellent spatial and temporal resolution. Although measurements are limited to superficial tissues with no depth resolution, LSCI has been instrumental in pre-clinical studies of neurological disorders as well as clinical applications including dermatological, neurosurgical and endoscopic studies. Recently a number of technical advances have been developed to improve the quantitative accuracy and temporal resolution of speckle imaging. This article reviews some of these recent advances and describes several applications of speckle imaging.