This world is not picture perfect and it is literally not because, when you zoomed into an image, such as on a CCTV footage, it will be pixelated. Picture perfect world? I think not. However, that changes with EnhanceNet Artificial Intelligence-powered Image-scaling Program. Developed by researchers Mehdi S. M. Sajjadi, Bernhard Schölkopf, and Michael Hirsch over at the Max-Planck Institute of Intelligent Systems in Germany, EnhanceNet is described as “Single Image Super-Resolution Through Automated Synthesis” which takes a scale up low resolution photos and introduce new details into it to result in a significantly higher resolution image.
It works pretty much like Google Brain Team’s Pixel Recursive Super Resolution we read about back in February. Both systems leverage on AI to fill in the missing details required to piece together a higher resolution image. However, it is not clear the extend of EnhanceNET’s power, like, whether or not can it upscale an portrait as small as 8 by 8 pixel and make it recognizable like Google’s. Though, clearly, it can do a better job as far as upscaling is concerned. Don’t believe? Just take look at the bird for example. The details that the program filled out are pretty astonishing. While I can’t say it is of high-resolution, it is of good resolution. Definitely, many steps up to what we have on Photoshop.
Man, I wish this enhancement is already available. There are times I was exasperated because the lack of decent resolution images for some of our posts and I think EnhanceNet is available, it will be a great help. I will not longer have haunt the source for high resolution images. The development of EnhanceNET and that from Google Brain Team will change the world of imaging as we know it. It is especially through for the former as it could one day incorporated into popular image editing software as Photoshop (yay!) or even into a smartphone OS that would allow you to zoom into images without blurriness in real-time.
The applications don’t have to stop there. It could be use to upsample old movies to higher resolution such as 4K, restoring old photographs to enable large prints with the subjects still clearly recognizable, or investigative works, such as those by police for scrutinizing CCTV footage and what not. With the technology, a threat also looms which we previously never pick up.
Such a technology could be use to rebuild an image that was intentionally blurred or pixelated (read: censored) and thus, folks who have the penchant of uploading their nude images online with their faces blurred for anonymity, you have to be prepared that one day, your veil maybe removed. In other words, your love of anonymous exhibitionist lifestyle may very well come to an end soon.
Images: Max-Planck Institute.