MIT Media Lab’s Camera Culture Group focuses on making the invisible visible–inside our bodies, around us, and beyond–for health, work, and connection.

The group has three subgroups (i) inverse problems in imaging and photography – ultra fast, lightfields, multispectral, THz, microwave, audio; (ii) imaging and sensing the body –  health, biometrics, HCI; and (iii) computer vision and machine learning.

The goal is to create an entirely new class of imaging platforms that have an understanding of the world that far exceeds human ability and produce meaningful abstractions that are well within human comprehensibility.

The group conducts multi-disciplinary research in modern optics, sensors, illumination, actuators, probes and software processing. This work ranges from creating novel feature-revealing computational cameras and new lightweight medical imaging mechanisms, to facilitating positive social impact via the next billion personalized cameras.

With more than a billion people now using networked, mobile cameras, we are seeing a rapid evolution in activities based on visual exchange. The capture and analysis of visual information plays an important role in photography, art, medical imaging, tele-presence, worker safety, scene understanding and robotics. But current computational approaches analyze images from cameras that have only limited abilities. Our goal is to go beyond post-capture software methods and exploit unusual optics, modern sensors, programmable illumination, and bio-inspired processing to decompose sensed values into perceptually critical elements. A significant enhancement in the next billion cameras to support scene analysis, and mechanisms for superior metadata tagging for effective sharing will bring about a revolution in visual communication.

Project topics include (i) computational photography via novel feature revealing cameras; (ii) femtosecond analysis of light transport with sophisticated illumination; (iii) Second Skin, a bio-i/o platform for motion capture via wearable imperceptible fabric; and (iv) universal encoder for sharing and consumption of visual media.

Keywords: Computational imaging, Signal processing, Applied optics, Computer graphics and vision, Medical Imaging, Thermal and ultrasound sensing, Hardware electronics, Art, Online photo collections, Visual social computing.