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.
For a strangely hypnotic minute and a half, check out this visualization of the Earth’s ocean currents. It flies you across the globe–past small blue swirls and over the bright lines of the Gulf Stream. More ocean current photos and videos, all based on data from NASA’s ECCO2 project, are available to watch and download at the Scientific Visualization Studio.