New Israeli Technology Lets You Photograph Fast-Moving Objects

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Jamaica's legendary sprinter Usain Bolt, here at full speed. (Photo: NPR).

A new development from Tel Aviv University will let you take photos of moving race cars, fast runners, birds in flight, and dunking basketballs into hoops.

Clear, sharp photography of moving objects, without motion blur, is now possible due to a computational photography process from researchers at Tel Aviv University.

The novel process is based on an optical element that encodes motion information and a corresponding digital image processing algorithm.

This integrated processing method was developed by PhD student Shay Elmalem from the School of Electrical Engineering, and published in the journal Optica.

“The term ‘long exposure’ always refers to the velocity of the photographed object,” explained Elmalem. “According to the conventional camera design approach, the lens is designed to produce the best possible image.”

Through integrated design of the optical components and image post-processing algorithms, Elmalem and his colleagues encode motion information cues in the raw optical image. These cues are decoded by the image-processing algorithm, which utilizes them for motion deblurring.

According to Elmalem, the computational image technique they developed can enhance any camera. “The potential is very broad, from basic uses like smartphone cameras to research, medical and industrial uses such as for production line controllers, microscopes and telescopes. They all suffer from the same smearing problem, and we offer a systemic solution.”

Ramot, the technology transfer company of Tel Aviv University, has filed several patent applications covering this breakthrough technology, which is generating great interest among industry players.

Elmalem’s faculty adviser, Prof. Emanuel Marom, passed away during the study, and the paper was published in his memory. The research also was guided by electrical engineering faculty member Raja Giryes.

(Israel 21c).

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