IIT-M, Rice University develop algorithms for cameras

Chennai: The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT0M) and Rice University, US., have developed algorithms for lensless, miniature cameras.

Such lensless cameras have numerous vision applications in areas such as Augmented Reality (AR)/Virtual Reality (VR), security, smart wearables and robotics where cost, form-factor, and weight are major constraints.

Lensless cameras do not have a lens which, in a conventional camera, acts as a focusing element allowing the sensor to capture a sharp photograph of the scene.

Due to the absence of this focusing element, the lensless camera captures a multiplexed or globally blurred measurement of the scene.

IIT-M and Rice University researchers have developed a deep learning algorithm for producing photo-realistic images from the blurred lensless capture.

“Taking out a lens can lead to the miniaturization of a camera. Researchers globally are trying to find substitutes for lenses,” a release from IIT-Madras said today.

In 2016, Prof.Ashok Veeraraghavan’s lab at Rice University registered success in making a lensless camera. They were able to develop a low-cost and low-weight ultra-thin lensless camera.

The function of lenses is to focus the incoming light. In these newly developed lensless cameras, a thin optical mask was placed just in front of the sensor at a distance of approximately 1 mm.

However, because of the absence of focusing elements, the lensless camera captures blurred images restricting their commercial use.

IIT-M and Rice researchers have now developed a computational solution to this problem. The team developed a de-blurring algorithm, which can correct the blurred images taken from a lensless camera.

The findings were presented as a paper in the prestigious IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision and an extended version appeared in IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence.

This research was led at IIT-Madras by Dr.Kaushik Mitra, Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering.

The research team included Mr.Salman Siddique Khan, Varun Sundar and Adarsh VR from IIT-Madras.

Prof. Ashok Veeraghavan led the Rice University team which included Dr. Vivek Boominathan and Jasper Tan.


NT Bureau