Now you can enlarge and denoise your photos, all thanks to basic research
The Center for Perceptual Systems at The University of Texas at Austin has just released a free web-app that will denoise and enlarge photos in a heartbeat to an extent that according to the authors, may have never been seen before.
"Compared with other photo-enhancement algorithms, we believe this is the best in the world for reducing digital camera noise and enlarging digital camera images, and also about 50 times faster"
– Wilson Geisler
The new denoising capabilities are described in a paper that has been submitted for publication, the enlarging capabilities were previously described in a paper published in the Journal of Vision. But how did a psychology professor end up working in such a far flung field? The discovery stems from research aiming to unearth the secrets of the workings of animal and human vision. The scientists attempted to mimic how it is imagined the human eye might perceive its surroundings.
The scientists began by looking at how the human visual system may enlarge images; humans have a much higher density of cone photoreceptors and therefore a much higher spatial resolution in the fovea which sits behind the pupil, than in the peripheral retina. Based on the idea that the human eye must have a mechanism for getting as much information as possible from the low resolution periphery, the group looked at the statistical differences between high resolution and low resolution versions of the same natural images. The group looked at thousands of images and determined rules that use reliable statistical regularities across all of the images with the hope of generating hypotheses for what the neural circuits in the retina or the brain might be computing. The researchers also computed the statistical differences between low noise representations and high noise representations of the same images.
What emerged was a new tool that uses statistics to attempt to solve the problem of imperfections in photographs by building an algorithm based on thousands of other photographs and using this as means for comparison. According to the researchers this tool is unlike other algorithms as it is based on average statistical regularities across all images rather than just within the image being processed. Also the algorithm removes noise that is spatially correlated rather than just removing uncorrelated noise as other algorithms currently do. The end result is a program that attempts to understand how to detect and eliminate noise and improve the resolution of photographs.
“Our algorithm differs from most other algorithms not only because it is based on the average statistical regularities across all images, but because we focused on the kind of noise that actually exists in typical digital camera images and in the retinal neurons that process the photoreceptor responses. This kind of noise is spatially correlated. Most other algorithms assume uncorrelated noise.”
– Wilson Geisler
As a result of this research, we may be a small step closer to understanding how the human eye works and if that isn't enough, now you can touch-up your holiday snaps.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/HAKKI ARSLAN
Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.
- Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were unlikely friends. They debated each other at events all over the world, and because of that developed a deep and rewarding friendship – despite their immense differences.
- Scalia, a famous conservative, was invited to circles that were not his "home territory", such as the ACLU, to debate his views. Here, Strossen expresses her gratitude and respect for his commitment to the exchange of ideas.
- "It's really sad that people seem to think that if you disagree with somebody on some issues you can't be mutually respectful, you can't enjoy each other's company, you can't learn from each other and grow in yourself," says Strossen.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Learn how to redesign your job for maximum reward.
- Broaching the question "What is my purpose?" is daunting – it's a grandiose idea, but research can make it a little more approachable if work is where you find your meaning. It turns out you can redesign your job to have maximum purpose.
- There are 3 ways people find meaning at work, what Aaron Hurst calls the three elevations of impact. About a third of the population finds meaning at an individual level, from seeing the direct impact of their work on other people. Another third of people find their purpose at an organizational level. And the last third of people find meaning at a social level.
- "What's interesting about these three elevations of impact is they enable us to find meaning in any job if we approach it the right way. And it shows how accessible purpose can be when we take responsibility for it in our work," says Hurst.
Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.
- The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
- The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
- While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
TuSimple, an autonomous trucking company, has also engaged in test programs with the United States Postal Service and Amazon.
PAUL RATJE / Contributor
- This week, UPS announced that it's working with autonomous trucking startup TuSimple on a pilot project to deliver cargo in Arizona using self-driving trucks.
- UPS has also acquired a minority stake in TuSimple.
- TuSimple hopes its trucks will be fully autonomous — without a human driver — by late 2020, though regulatory questions remain.