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Google And MIT Can Now Take Reflection-Free Photos

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Researchers at Google and MIT have come up with a way of removing reflections from photos taken through windows.

An algorithm removes unwanted visual elements by taking a short video and removing frames to separate the foreground from the background. Scientists at MIT previously came up with a similar algorithm, but this latest version is capable of removing various types of obstruction from photos, writes Jon Fingas for Engadget.

No more reflections, rain drops or fences in your photos

The algorithm is explained in a paper written by Tianfan Xue, Michael Rubinstein, Ce Liu and William T. Freeman, which they will present at Siggraph 2015.

In addition to unwanted reflections, the algorithm can also get rid of pesky rain drops and chain link fences. An interesting byproduct of the process is that it also captures a crystal clear image of the reflection that you remove from the photo, allowing you to preserve the memory of the outfit you were wearing when you took the picture.

Neither Google nor MIT have specified whether the algorithm will be included on commercially available devices. It would be a great bonus if the feature were included on cameras and smartphones, removing a common annoyance.

Smartphone cameras continue to advance

Even casual photographers have had great shots ruined by windows that cannot be opened. Taking pictures of the clouds outside your plane window will also get a whole lot easier, as will taking photos of rainy weather from the safety of your home.

Advances in camera technology means that smartphones are also becoming thinner as well as taking better photos. As reported by ValueWalk last week, Samsung has revealed the world’s first 1.0 micrometer 16 megapixel CMOS image sensor.

Not only will the sensor allow for thinner smartphones, it also means that devices will take better pictures in low light. The new camera module could be featured on the Samsung Galaxy S7, as well as smartphones from other technology companies.

It must be hoped that Google and MIT release the algorithm for use on smartphones. Instagram may even crash due to the number of plane window shots that users are able to take.

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