Google, MIT Researchers Take Magic Eraser To Annoying Window Reflections In Photos

One of the most frustrating elements of photography isn't rain or rough weather in general, but windows. No, not that Windows, but windows that do a better job of reflecting the scene behind you than let you see or capture a photo through it. I'm sure many of us have been in a hotel room where we would have loved to have been able to shoot the scene outside, but had to contend with reflections that ruined the shot.

If you can relate, you should be happy to know that there's a solution, one that was just discussed at the ongoing SIGGRAPH conference. Called "A Computational Approach for Obstruction-Free Photography", a team at MIT and Google managed to create an advanced algorithm that analyzes multiple images from a single scene and not only get rid of the reflection, but single out the reflection and show it in a separate image (which is a little creepy!)

Here are some great before / after shots:

Reflection Remover 01

Reflection Remover 02

Reflection Remover 03

Reflection Remover 04

This ability might seem simple overall - how hard could it be to take multiple images and remove the obstruction? Well, it's actually very hard, something the video below can highlight well. There's some serious calculation going on here.

When will this technology hit our cameras? There's no telling, but given the results, I sure hope it doesn't take long. The best thing about this is that there's no special hardware required; it could literally roll out as a software update if companies wanted to license it. That's exciting.