Better wetter

Researchers at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology have developed a unique method that dramatically improves the quality of underwater photography.

The method has potential application in a variety of fields, including checking underwater pipes and cables, bridge pylons sunk in the water, sailing vessels and atomic reactors. It also could be of great assistance in scientific research (biology, underwater archeology and underwater mapping), as well as for amateur underwater photographers, who until now could only get good results using close ups.

Dr. Yoav Schechner of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, together with master’s student Nir Karpel, worked on the method for a year and a half before achieving a breakthrough. The pair connected a special filter to a camera, which together with a mathematical algorithm they developed, led to excellent results.

The photos the two photographed, at a depth of 26 meters in the Gulf of Eilat were of significantly better quality than anything previously done without the filter and the algorithm. It is possible to clearly see objects that previously appeared blurred and out of focus, or were not seen at all.

With the method, the researchers claim that it is also possible to estimate distances underwater and to give the photos three-dimensional depth.

A complete technical article describing the technique can be found by clicking <link>here=http://www.ee.technion.ac.il/~yoav/PUBLICATIONS/tWaterCVPR04.pdf</link>.