Conventional optical imaging systems today largely limit themselves to the measurement of light intensity, providing two-dimensional renderings of three-dimensional scenes and ignoring significant amounts of additional information that may be carried by captured light. For example, many photons traverse complex paths punctuated by multiple bounces prior to entering the aperture of a camera or other imager—a process through which these photons pick up information about their surroundings. Beyond such directional variability, light enjoys other degrees of freedom—including variations in transmission time, polarization status and spectral state, as well as wave-related properties such as coherence, diffraction and interference—all of which provide potential mechanisms by which information may be acquired and conveyed by light. Most of this information remains untapped today.
The REVEAL program aims to develop a comprehensive theoretical framework to enable maximum information extraction from complex scenes by using all photon pathways and leveraging light’s multiple degrees of freedom. This framework would guide the development of new imaging hardware and software technologies. The program will test the bounds of the developed framework and the functionality of the new imaging technologies via a challenge problem that calls for full 3-D scene reconstruction from a single viewpoint.
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