Blurry Face Photos Made 60 Times Sharper

In the 1982 film Blade Runner by Ridley Scott (taken from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick), the replicant hunter played by Harrison Ford uses an Esper photo analysis device to perform an amazing enhancement of an ordinary photograph.


(From Blade Runner)

I saw the film when it came out, and I have to say that this scene seemed unrealistic, based on what was possible at the time.

Is it still impossible?

Duke University researchers have developed an AI tool that can turn blurry, unrecognizable pictures of people's faces into detailed computer-generated portraits.


(Duke AI researchers perform wonders on blurry photos)

The system cannot be used to identify people, the researchers say: It won't turn an out-of-focus, unrecognizable photo from a security camera into a crystal clear image of a real person. Rather, it is capable of generating new faces that don't exist, but look plausibly real.

While the researchers focused on faces as a proof of concept, the same technique could in theory take low-res shots of almost anything and create sharp, realistic-looking pictures, with applications ranging from medicine and microscopy to astronomy and satellite imagery, said co-author Sachit Menon '20, who just graduated from Duke with a double-major in mathematics and computer science.

The researchers will present their method, called PULSE, at the 2020 Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), held virtually from June 14 to June 19.

Instead of taking a low-resolution image and slowly adding new detail, the system scours AI-generated examples of high-resolution faces, searching for ones that look as much as possible like the input image when shrunk down to the same size.

(Via Techxplore)

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