Scientists Uncover Invisible Motion in Video

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A 30-second video of a newborn baby shows the infant silently snoozing in its crib, his breathing barely perceptible. But when the video is run through an algorithm that can amplify both movement and color, the baby’s face blinks crimson with each tiny heartbeat.

The amplification process is called Eulerian Video Magnification, and is the brainchild of a team of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

The team originally developed the program to monitor neonatal babies without making physical contact. But they quickly learned that the algorithm can be applied to other videos to reveal changes imperceptible to the naked eye. Prof. William T. Freeman, a leader on the team, imagines its use in search and rescue, so that rescuers could tell from a distance if someone trapped on a ledge, say, is still breathing.

“Once we amplify these small motions, there’s like a whole new world you can look at,” he said.

The system works by homing in on specific pixels in a video over the course of time. Frame-by-frame, the program identifies minute changes in color and then amplifies them up to 100 times, turning, say, a subtle shift toward pink to a bright crimson. The scientists who developed it believe it could also have applications in industries like manufacturing and oil exploration. For example, a factory technician could film a machine to check for small movements in bolts that might indicate an impending breakdown. In one video presented by the scientists, a stationary crane sits on a construction site, so still it could be a photograph. But once run through the program, the crane appears to sway precariously in the wind, perhaps tipping workers off to a potential hazard.

Written By: Erik Olsen
continue to source article at bits.blogs.nytimes.com

14 COMMENTS

  1. Another scientific method of extending the depth of human perception.

    I suppose the next step is to extend this to “false colour imaging” to extend the range of wavelengths covered.

    • In reply to #3 by Alan4discussion:

      Another scientific method of extending the depth of human perception.

      I suppose the next step is to extend this to “false colour imaging” to extend the range of wavelengths covered.

      Yeah, I’m tired of insects always going on about how we cannot appreciate the true beauty of flowers.

      Smug bastards.

  2. I’m usually skeptical of any new or improved technology that has to be pimped as “hopefully being useful to medical doctors”. It qualifies as a PhD topic, though… but just barely. A good M.Sc. maybe.

    • In reply to #8 by joost:

      I’m usually skeptical of any new or improved technology that has to be pimped as “hopefully being useful to medical doctors”. It qualifies as a PhD topic, though… but just barely. A good M.Sc. maybe.

      Good Point. I’ll bet the technology will be most useful to manufacturers of lie detector devices.

  3. In reply to #11 by bluebird:

    In reply to #9 by This Is Not A Meme:

    From the link:

    …odds are the doctor can double check the data and prescribe treatment online or over the phone

    Curious, in the case of malpractice/misdiagnoses, who is culpable; can a devise be “sued”?

    I doubt physicians will want to use it for telediagnosis. It seems to me that the issue of proper lighting in the original video alone can throw off the results. They’d much rather you see them in person and get hooked up to some “real” equipment.

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