Amazing new algorithm to remove photo-blur

While working on adding Digg functionality to articles on my site, I saw this little gem on a new photo-deblurring algorithm recently demonstrated at Siggraph on the Digg main page. This was of interest to me because my moderate hand tremors mean taking good pictures is always a tough thing for me. To compensate for my lack of steadiness, I tend to take multiple pictures of whatever I want to get. This new algorithm is specifically designed to help clear up camera shake blurriness, which should help me.  The bad news is this isn’t likely to show up for another year or two in popular photo-editting software.

camera-shake.jpg In a seminar entitled “Removing Camera Shake from a Single Photograph,” the MIT – U of Toronto research team presented an algorithm to correct high-level blurs at the world’s largest electronic and computer graphics conference today, which hosts “the best and most senior minds in technological innovation,” according to Siggraph spokesperson Brian Ban.

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The algorithm is based on the principal that slight hand motions of even only a few millimeters cause camera rotations, resulting in image blur according to researcher and post-doc Rob Fergus in the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab.

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Geared for users of small handheld cameras, the new post-production technique could eliminate the need for bulky tripods or help camera owners who lack popular (and costly) anti-shake features in newer point-and-shoot cameras. “With lighter, newer cameras, [blurry images] are a common thing. We normally delete them because we don’t know what to do with them,” said Fergus, but the “photos you really care about” can be saved.

The mathematical model, however, cannot correct other kinds of blur, including inadequate depth of field in which images are out of focus. The model also cannot compensate for slow shutter speeds for fast moving objects such as cars.

[tags]Camera blur, SIGGRAPH[/tags]