Called “View from the Window at Le Gras”, the world’s first photographic image was a scene through the window of French photographer Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826. Over time, our idea of an image has changed. Now in the twenty first century, imaging technology is a center point of research as we push the boundaries of creating, preserving and duplicating images.
We used to think of an image as a single picture from a single camera at a single point in space and time. Now, we must change our idea to view an image as a conglomeration. Pictures from a single camera over time may be an image. Pictures from a number of cameras with some relation to each other may make up an image. One area of research in imaging at the Vis Center includes understanding long sequences in video from outdoor cameras and analyzing what one can learn from these images.
Another area is investigating how to digitize antiquities amassed prior to digitization, focusing primarily on digitizing manuscripts. Digitization has only been around since 1957, but we have massive amounts of cultural information through history built up in our museums and libraries. Then, once these artifacts are converted to a digital form, how should it be organized so that it is accessible? The goal of our research is to preserve our cultural heritage and then organize it so it is accessible to other researchers for scholarship and to the public.
A third area is medicine. In laparoscopic surgery, also known as minimally invasive surgery, surgeons operate by looking at the operative field on a projector because the operative field is in a remote location. Research at the Vis Center focuses on improving laparoscopic surgery by enhancing the image on the projector to make a smart image for the surgeon. To learn more about this part of our research, visit the STITCH page on our website.
Research in imaging also has military applications. The military is most interested in representing the structure of an environment in 3D so a person could walk through the 3D environment and get a sense of the area and potential constraints for an operation in the area. The Vis Center works on using imagery to build such a 3D model so that the military can experience the model and develop operations tailored to the area.
Imaging technology is a center point of research as we push the boundaries of creating, preserving and duplicating images.