Google's incredible image enhancer looks like something out of 'CSI'

Google Brain algorithm makes “zoom in enhance” almost real

If the networks know that one particular pixel could be an eye, when you zoom in you'll see the shape of an eye there. A security camera picks up a blurry image and some computer genius clears it up. In a paper - Pixel Recursive Super Resolution - three researchers from the Silicon Valley firm trained their system on small 8x8 pixel images of celebrity faces and photos of bedrooms. Google Brain can reliably determine what pixels to add after it has analyzed millions of other high-resolution photographs with similar details in them. The reference images (right) help judge the quality of the enhancements.

Various different super-resolution techniques.

If you feel like diving into every little detail of this reasearch: by all means.

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That level of accuracy could be used to give law enforcement a better idea of how a suspect might look, but is still a long way away from being able to make any conclusive decisions.

The combination of a conditioning neural network and a prior neural network analysed the images to produce higher resolution 32x32 pixel versions.

First, Google Brain's new software uses two methods so it can provide a clear copy of the 8 x 8 pixelated image. Exploiting the power of neural networks and an unrivaled database of trillions of photos, the Mountain View corporation showed that its possible to render a detailed, higher resolution image from a tiny, pixelated source, some only 8×8 pixels. It does this by checking a large number of similar high-res samples, such as faces, then adding new pixels to the source material using what it's learned from that category of image. As Ars Technica explained, if there's a brown pixel towards the top of the image, the prior network might identify that as an eyebrow: so, when the image is scaled up, it might fill in the gaps with an eyebrow-shaped collection of brown pixels. However, as the images aren't real (they're computed approximations), they can't serve as evidence in criminal cases. Research divisions of Google's parent company Alphabet have recently been working hard on improving the way computers perceive and generate images. To put that in perspective: 50 percent would be flawless, but... up until now, existing upscaling techniques (bicubic scaling) had zero percent fooled. The modest returns is representative of a leap in image enhancement, building upon bicubic scaling, a less intensive process that fooled no respondents during the same study. People were asked to choose which picture they thought was the "ground truth".

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