MIT Stories August 6, 2015

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Google and MIT have created an algorithm that brings amazing obstruction-free photography [Video]

When you’re taking a picture, it’s not rare for obstructions like fences and reflections to make the resulting image less than ideal. Given a few frames, though, shouldn’t it be possible to do some post-processing and eliminate these problems? That’s what Google and MIT have demonstrated in a paper entitled “A Computational Approach for Obstruction-Free Photography”. It’s fascinating stuff.

If you’re taking a picture in a window, it’s pretty common that a reflection of inside the room or car could obstruct what would otherwise be a really nice looking photo. And that’s what this algorithm seems to focus on most. The team demoes several examples of taking several frames, and actually separating the obstructing reflection, leaving a clear image of the background.

It seems to work well with photos taken through fences and other situations too, the end result providing an image of the background as well as a fairly accurate representation of what the obstruction looks like by itself. This could have plenty of applications for everyday smartphone photography, but perhaps for forensic research as well. You’ll just have to watch it for yourself. Hopefully, this tech isn’t far from being added to the Camera app.

MIT Stories June 24, 2011

Richard DeVaul, a PhD. scientist from MIT with a focus on building wearable technologies, was snared from Apple this month by Google.  At Apple he was rumored to be working with SVP of Industrial Design, Jonny Ive in Apple’s secret labs building the next big thing.

Besides his having knowledge of the inter-workings of Apple, it is also interesting that DeVaul is a hardware person who has focused on building wearable products for the past decade.  Google has been a software company for all of its existence, but more and more it appears that it will enter the hardware business…but probably in smart accessories rather than phones.

He’ll likely join two former Danger hardware experts in a new Google lab called Google Hardware where his Job Description of “Rapid idea evaluation and prototyping for new projects at Google. ” seems to fit in with Joel Britt and Matt Hershenson are doing.

I wrote about DeVaul’s transition to Apple at Computerworld 18 months ago, excerpted below:

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