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Plumbing the Possibilities of 'seeing Around Corners'

By ­niversity of Wisconsin-Madison

July 29, 2016

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Researchers from the Morgridge Institute for Research and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) are exploring the possibilities of using scattered-light technology to recreate images hidden from a human line of sight.

Although typical cameras rely on an initial burst of light on the subject in view, the joint project focuses on the indirect light that scatters through the scene. The technology recaptures these pulses of scattered photons through finely tuned sensors. The data collected from the sensors is then used to digitally rebuild a three-dimensional (3D), unobstructed scene.

Morgridge researcher Andreas Velten originally pioneered and demonstrated the technology in 2012 to recreate human figures and other shapes from around corners. Velten and UW-Madison professor Mohit Gupta are now pushing the limits of their imaging technology to see if they can recapture movement, determine an object's composition, and differentiate between similar shapes. A theoretical framework was developed to study the effect of bouncing light several times through a space to better capture scenes out of sight.

"The more times you can bounce this light within a scene, the more possible data you can collect," Velten says. "Since the first light is the strongest, and each proceeding bounce gets weaker and weaker, the sensor has to be sensitive enough to capture even a few photons of light."

From University of Wisconsin-Madison
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