Forget 3-D and HD. This new kind of video isn’t almost as good as real life; it’s even better. The technique amplifies colors and movements that are invisible to the naked eye. The resulting view is not only enhanced but dynamic.
“What we’re doing here is a particular project at the intersection of vision and graphics that we call motion magnification,” said Michael T. Freeman, one of the project’s researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab.
Measuring imperceptible changes in color and motion has been around for some time, but this algorithm is the first to capture and visualize these subtle variations on video. The intended applications were medical—visually monitoring the pulse of newborn babies without having to touch them. When tested against conventional methods of taking the pulse (or an EKG in this case) the numbers matched up, according to a NYT blog.
Freeman says there may be other diagnostic uses for visualizing the speed and distribution of blood flow, as well as a whole host of non-medical uses.
“Once we amplify it and show what’s there, there’s like a whole new world—all sorts of things you can look at,” Freeman said.
Have other ideas for how to use it? You’re in luck! The researchers have posted the source code online for those who are software savvy. Otherwise, a more user-friendly version allows you to upload a video and simply apply the motion magnification.
Screenshot and video courtesy of William T. Freeman et al./MIT via Erik Olsen/NYT