Smart algorithm presents new way of seeing, may aid medical imaging

What does medical imaging have in common with self-driving cars?

A new imaging technology developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology could hold the answer. The technique may represent a breakthrough, as it permits researchers to recover visual information from light that has been scattered due to interactions with the environment, like dense fog and drizzle or even human tissue. This visible light information holds considerably more information than X-rays or ultrasound waves.

“One of the problem with X-rays is that it’s very hard to distinguish between different types of tissue,” Guy Satat, a graduate student at MIT’s Media Lab, told Digital Trends. “That’s why biopsies and more invasive procedures are needed. But if it was possible to create a system which could augment X-rays, or replace them in some cases, it would mean that some of these invasive procedures could be reduced or avoided altogether. That’s really the Holy Grail for our research.”

diagram

The same principle, Satat said, is true for foggy or drizzly conditions, which present current autonomous car technology with a major challenge.

“The problem with seeing through these weather conditions is that you also have an optical scattering effect,” he continued. “As a result of this optical scattering, it’s not possible to achieve the necessary contrast to distinguish between different objects the autonomous car is seeing.”

The MIT-developed technology is essentially a camera with a smart algorithm that uses both light and time to create an image of what it is that has scattered photons in a particular way. By working out how long it it takes individual photons to reach the camera lens, the algorithm can then reverse-engineer a conclusion about what the light has passed through to get there.

In addition to better self-driving car visual recognition systems, and medical imaging which doesn’t require patients to undergo doses of radiation or surgery, other applications for the technique could include helping satellite images “see” through clouds.

In one long-term example Satat enjoyed discussing, he noted that it could even be possible to have a portable device capable of looking through fruit in supermarkets to tell how ripe it is.

Right now, the work is still in its relatively early research stages, but it certainly hints at some fascinating use-cases going forward. What’s not to get excited about?

Photography

Fujifilm’s newest medium-format lens is lighter than a can of soda

Medium format is notorious for both image quality and bulk, but Fujifilm is continuing to press the advanced cameras into smaller sizes with the launch of the Fujinon GFX 50mm F3.5. The lens is the lightest Fujifilm medium format lens yet.
Mobile

A.I. photo filters use neural networks to make photos look like Picassos

Artificial Intelligence apps put a novel spin on social network-style photo filters. Instead of just overlaying an effect, these photo filters use machine learning and neural networks to transform an image into a predetermined style.
Emerging Tech

Implant restores sight in blind patients by beaming images directly to the brain

Engineers have developed a neural implant which could help restore vision for completely blind people by bypassing non-functioning optical nerves and inputting images directly into their brains.
Emerging Tech

Photorealistic A.I. tool can fill in gaps in images, including faces

Researchers have developed a smart new A.I. system which can accurately fill in blank areas in an image, whether that’s a missing face or the front of a building. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Genetically modified plants could help get to the root of climate change

Researchers have been investigating ways to engineer plants so that they grow with more robust and deeper roots, capable of storing increasing amounts of carbon underground for longer.
Photography

With object tracking, the lightweight DJI Ronin-SC is still heavy on features

Designed for mirrorless cameras, the DJI Ronin-SC packs several features from the Ronin-S -- and then some -- into a lighter, one-handed gimbal. Despite the smaller size, the DJI Ronin-S adds new object tracking and expanded remote control.
Emerging Tech

IBM’s Wimbledon-watching A.I. is poised to revolutionize sports broadcasts

IBM has developed a smart A.I. with an appreciation for what makes a great tennis match like the recent epic at Wimbledon. Here's how IBM developed it -- and why tools like it are the future of sport broadcasting.
News

SpaceX’s Starhopper rocket bursts into flames during tests

SpaceX ran into trouble Tuesday evening when a small fire erupted from the engine of a prototype rocket it was testing at the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas. It's not clear if the fire caused any damage to the rocket itself
Emerging Tech

Buying on a budget? Here's all the best tech you can snag for $25 or less

We live in a world where you can get a cheeseburger for $1, a functioning computer for $5, and thousands of HD movies for $10 -- so it stands to reason that you should be able to pick up some pretty sweet gear for $25.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Emoji Day, Apollo 11 broadcast, drone flamethrowers

On this episode of DT Live, we discuss the top stories in tech, including Emoji Day festivities, the extended battery life of the new Nintendo Switch, an Apollo 11 real-time broadcast, and a functional flamethrower attachment for drones.
Emerging Tech

6 questions we have about Elon Musk’s Neuralink brain interface technology

Elon Musk's Neuralink sounds like an exciting leap forward for human-computer relations, but brain implants raise the specter of Black Mirror-esque privacy invasions. We have a few questions about how this would work.
News

Canadian medical project demonstrates the health care potential of smart homes

A medical project involving smart homes demonstrates the technology's potential in treating mental illness and providing patients with a level of independence previously thought impossible.
Deals

Ride in style with the Xiaomi Mi electric scooter for $97 less post-Prime Day

Scooters started out as a plaything for kids. But now they are larger and have become a common and efficient means to commute, like the Xiaomi Mi electric scooter. It's available on Amazon as a post-Prime Day deal for $97 less.
Emerging Tech

Trippy VR demo reads your brain waves to create sleep-inducing visuals

Struggle to get to sleep? Researchers in Australia have been experimenting with ways to combine a person’s brain activity with virtual reality to create a kind of VR lullaby machine.