Imaging through glass diffusers using densely connected convolutional networks

I just found a new paper by the group of G. Barbastathis at MIT.

Imaging through glass diffusers using densely connected convolutional networks,

S. Li et al, Submitted on 18 Nov 2017,

(featured image from Fig. 3 of the manuscript)


Computational imaging through scatter generally is accomplished by first characterizing the scattering medium so that its forward operator is obtained; and then imposing additional priors in the form of regularizers on the reconstruction functional so as to improve the condition of the originally ill-posed inverse problem. In the functional, the forward operator and regularizer must be entered explicitly or parametrically (e.g. scattering matrices and dictionaries, respectively.) However, the process of determining these representations is often incomplete, prone to errors, or infeasible. Recently, deep learning architectures have been proposed to instead learn both the forward operator and regularizer through examples. Here, we propose for the first time, to our knowledge, a convolutional neural network architecture called “IDiffNet” for the problem of imaging through diffuse media and demonstrate that IDiffNet has superior generalization capability through extensive tests with well-calibrated diffusers. We found that the Negative Pearson Correlation Coefficient loss function for training is more appropriate for spatially sparse objects and strong scattering conditions. Our results show that the convolutional architecture is robust to the choice of prior, as demonstrated by the use of multiple training and testing object databases, and capable of achieving higher space-bandwidth product reconstructions than previously reported.

Basically they have trained a neural network to ‘solve’ the path of light traveling through a scattering medium, thus being able to recover images hidden by glass diffusers. It may sound simple, but thousands of scientists are trying to see objects hidden by scattering media. We are seeing the first steps of the combination between neural networks, machine learning, and optics to go beyond physical constraints imposed by nature (see inside our bodies with visible light, see through fog, etc.).

Fig. 7 of the paper, with some nice results.