PULSE Artificial Intelligence tool can make blurry faces look more than 60 times sharper


University of Duke researchers come up with PULSE AI tool which can make blurry, unrecognizable pictures of people’s faces into eerily convincing computer-generated portraits AND you can try it out

Just yesterday, we had reported about the new Anonymous Camera App for iPhones and iPads that uses artificial intelligence to blur faces, strip the image/video of EXIF data and distort voices in the video. Now we have an artificial intelligence tool doing exactly the opposite of that. Taking blurred images and making them up to sixty times sharper.

A team of researchers from Duke University has developed an AI tool that can turn blurry, unrecognizable pictures of people’s faces into eerily convincing computer-generated portraits, in finer detail than ever before. They are calling their AI tool PULSE and will be making a presentation about it at the 2020 Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) to be held online from June 14 to June 19.

Pulse differs from other image tools available in the market. The tools available today can scale the image pixels of a face up to eight times its original resolution. But the PULSE AI tool developed by the Duke researchers can scale it up by up to 64 times in resolution. The researchers say that the tool works by ‘imagining’ features such as fine lines, eyelashes, and stubble that are blurred in the original image.

The team consists of Sachit Menon, Alexandru Damian, Shijia Hu, Nikhil Ravi and is led by computer scientist, Cynthia Rudin.

In this depressing times when such AI-driven tools could be used by law enforcement agencies to identify protestors, dissidents, and activists, PULSE developers say it is different.  The researchers state that their tool can’t be used to identify people. Unlike the tools used by the law enforcement agencies, PULSE can’t turn an out-of-focus, unrecognizable photo from a security camera into a crystal clear image of a real person. PULSE works differently by generating a new face that doesn’t exist but looks plausibly real.

The researchers have put up a website where you can check the results of PULSE. Take your own image, blur it, and feed it here. PULSE AI tool will sharpen it and present you with a result that looks eerily real.

The PULSE differs from other similar AI tools because PULSE scours AI-generated examples of high-resolution faces, searching for ones that look as much as possible like the input image when shrunk down to the same size. For this, they used a machine learning tool called “generative adversarial network,” or GAN. PULSE can create realistic-looking images from blurred, poor-quality images that other methods can’t, says Rudin the team leader.

When you try the PULSE tool you will find that from a single blurred image it can output any number of uncannily lifelike possibilities, each of which looks subtly like a different person. PULSE can also a small unrecognizable 16×16-pixel image of a face to 1024 x 1024 pixels in a few seconds, adding more than a million pixels.

If you are interested you can get in contact with the Duke Research team at PULSE: Self-Supervised Photo Upsampling via Latent Space Exploration of Generative Models, arXiv:2003.03808 [cs.CV] arxiv.org/abs/2003.03808


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