Watch This: Video Tech Reveals Invisible Color and Movement

By Breanna Draxler | March 1, 2013 11:18 am

Normal shot of a candle (left) versus motion magnified version (right).

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

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: pulse, video, visualization
  • Johan Jung

    Thanks for sharing this amazing discovery.

  • Peter Schubert

    F*** yeah. This is mind blowing. Can’t wait to see it used on the silver screen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1096206214 Aidan Skillings

    This is incredible. I have to wonder if it could be used in combat as well. I mean, assuming it’s real-time, if you could amplify movement visualization by a hundred times then enemies would be a heck of a lot easier to spot, yeah? Just a thought, anyway. Really cool technology though and I love how simplistic it is (okay not simplistic, but it still utilizes common tech to function).

  • http://www.facebook.com/mparkhur Matt Parkhur

    Yeah, that thing with a candle (seeing the heat rising off of it) isn’t actually new or invisible. But I imagine it can be difficult to photograph.

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