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Practical Imaging and Inversion of Transient Light Transport

Project description

The novel imaging technique of an optical echo for practical use

Transient imaging (TI) is revolutionising the computer graphics and computer vision market. It facilitates the detection of objects through information from the temporal domain at pico- and nano-second-resolution, and the capturing, reconstructing or simulating of light transport. This makes it possible to show movies of light in motion, see around corners, detect objects in highly-scattering media or infer material properties from a distance. But due to its high-end arrangements, TI has so far been used only in laboratories. The EU-funded ECHO project aims to develop a novelty camera system by introducing computational TI (CTI). It will allow researchers to distinguish and explore the ‘optical echoes’ of objects through lightweight capture of transient data in real time, offering many advanced solutions and enabling numerous applications.


The automated analysis of visual data is a key enabler for industrial and consumer technologies and of immense economic
and social importance. Its main challenge is in the inherent ambiguity of images due to the very mechanism of image
capture: light reaching a pixel on different paths or at different times is mixed irreversibly. Consequently, even after
decades of extensive research, problems like deblurring or descattering, geometry/material estimation or motion tracking
are still largely unsolved and will remain so in the foreseeable future.
Transient imaging (TI) tackles this problem by recording ultrafast optical echoes that unmix light contributions by the total
pathlength. So far, TI used to require high-end measurement setups. By introducing computational TI (CTI), we paved the
way for a lightweight capture of transient data using consumer hardware. We showed the potential of CTI in scenarios like
robust range measurement, descattering and imaging of objects outside the line of sight – tasks that had been considered
difficult to impossible so far.
The ECHO project is rooted in computer graphics and computational imaging. In it, we will overcome the practical limitations that are hampering a large-scale deployment of TI: the time required for data capture and to reconstruct the
desired information, both in the order of seconds to minutes, a lack of dedicated image priors and of quality guarantees for
the reconstruction, the limited accuracy and performance of forward models and the lack of ground-truth data and
benchmark methods.
Over the course of ECHO, we will pioneer advanced capture setups and strategies, signal formation models, priors and numerical
methods, for the first time enabling real-time reconstruction and analysis of transient light transport in complex and dynamic
scenes. The methodology developed in this far-reaching project will turn TI from a research technology into a family of
practical tools that will immediately benefit many applications.



Net EU contribution
€ 1 525 840,00
Regina pacis weg 3
53113 Bonn

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Nordrhein-Westfalen Köln Bonn, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)