Researchers Detail AI that De-hazes and Colorizes Underwater Photos

Kyle Wiggers, writing for VentureBeat: Ever notice that underwater images tend to be be blurry and somewhat distorted? That’s because phenomena like light attenuation and back-scattering adversely affect visibility. To remedy this, researchers at Harbin Engineering University in China devised a machine learning algorithm that generates realistic water images, along with a second algorithm that trains on those images to both restore natural color and reduce haze. They say that their approach qualitatively and quantitatively matches the state of the art, and that it’s able to process upwards of 125 frames per second running on a single graphics card. The team notes that most underwater image enhancement algorithms (such as those that adjust white balance) aren’t based on physical imaging models, making them poorly suited to the task. By contrast, this approach taps a generative adversarial network (GAN) — an AI model consisting of a generator that attempts to fool a discriminator into classifying synthetic samples as real-world samples — to produce a set of images of specific survey sites that are fed into a second algorithm, called U-Net.

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