Light behaves differently in water than it does on the surface — and that behavior creates the blur or green tint common in underwater photographs as well as the haze that blocks out vital details. But thanks to research from an oceanographer and engineer and a new artificial intelligence program called Sea-Thru, that haze and those occluded colors could soon disappear.
Besides putting a downer on the photos from that snorkeling trip, the inability to get an accurately colored photo underwater hinders scientific research at a time when concern for coral and ocean health is growing. That’s why oceanographer and engineer Derya Akkaynak, along with Tali Treibitz and the University of Haifa, devoted their research to developing an artificial intelligence that can create scientifically accurate colors while removing the haze in underwater photos.
As Akkaynak points out in her research, imaging A.I. has exploded in recent years. Algorithms have been developed that can tackle everything from turning an apple into an orange to reversing manipulated photos. Yet, she says, the development of underwater algorithms is still behind because of how the water obscures many of the elements in the scene that the A.I. uses