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Researchers see around corners to detect object shapes

Computer vision researchers have demonstrated they can use special light sources and sensors to see around corners or through gauzy filters, enabling them to reconstruct the shapes of unseen objects. The researchers believe that this is the first time researchers have been able to compute millimeter- and micrometer-scale shapes of curved objects, providing an important new component to a larger suite of non-line-of-sight (NLOS) imaging techniques now being developed by computer vision researchers. Most of what people see -- and what cameras detect -- comes from light that reflects off an object and bounces directly to the eye or the lens. But light also reflects off the objects in other directions, bouncing off walls and objects. A faint bit of this scattered light ultimately might reach the eye or the lens, but is washed out by more direct, powerful light sources. NLOS techniques try to extract information from scattered light - naturally occurring or otherwise -- and produce images of scenes, objects or parts of objects not otherwise visible. In addition to seeing around corners, the technique proved effective in seeing through diffusing filters, such as thick paper.

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