A New AI Research from the University of Maryland, College Park Develops an AI System that can Reconstruct 3D Scenes from Reflections in the Human Eye

      

The human eye is a wonderful organ that allows vision and stores important environmental data. They normally use their eyes as two lenses to direct light onto the photosensitive cells that make up their retina. Still, if they looked into someone else’s eyes, they would also be able to see the light reflected from the cornea. When they use a camera to photograph someone else’s eyes, they transform their eyes into a pair of mirrors in the imaging system. Since the light that reaches the observer’s retina and the light that reflects off their eyes come from the same source, their camera should provide pictures containing details about the environment they are viewing. 

An image of two eyes has recovered a panoramic representation of the world the observer sees in earlier experiments. Applications including relighting, focused object estimation, detecting grip position, and personal recognition have all been further studied in follow-up investigations. They ponder if they are capable of more than just reconstructing a single panoramic environment map or spotting patterns in light of current developments in 3D vision and graphics. Is it feasible to restore the observer’s reality in three dimensions? This work addresses these concerns by creating a 3D scene from a series of eye pictures. They begin with the knowledge that when their heads move naturally, their eyes capture and reflect information from several views. 

Researchers from the University of Maryland offer a brand-new technique for creating 3D reconstructions of an observer’s environment from eye scans, fusing past ground-breaking work with the most recent developments in neural rendering. Their method uses a stationary camera and extracts the multi-view cues from eye pictures. At the same time, head movement occurs, unlike the usual NeRF capture setup, which requires a moving camera to acquire multi-view information (frequently followed by camera position estimation). Though conceptually simple, rebuilding a 3D NeRF from eye pictures in practice is difficult. The initial difficulty is source separation. They must distinguish between reflections and the complex iris textures of human eyes. 

The 3D reconstruction process becomes more ambiguous due to these complicated patterns. The visual images they collect are intrinsically mixed with iris textures, in contrast to the clean photographs of the scene that are normally presumed in regular captures. This composition makes The reconstruction technique more difficult, which throws off the pixel correlation. Estimating the corneal posture presents a second difficulty. Small and difficult to localize precisely from image observations, eyes are. However, the precision of their positions and 3D orientations is crucial for multi-view reconstruction. 

To overcome these difficulties, the authors of this study repurpose NeRF for training on eye images by adding two essential elements: a) texture decomposition, which makes use of a short radial before making it easier to distinguish the iris texture from the overall radiance field, and b) eye pose refinement, which improves pose estimation accuracy despite the difficulties posed by the small size of eyes. They create a synthetic dataset of a complex indoor environment with photos that capture the reflection from an artificial cornea with a realistic texture to assess the performance and efficacy of their technique. They also use a real-world setup with several items to take pictures of eyes. They conduct considerable research on artificial and actual collected ocular images to support several design decisions in their methodology. 

These are their main contributions: 

• They offer a brand-new technique for creating 3D reconstructions of an observer’s environment from eye scans, fusing past ground-breaking work with the most recent developments in neural rendering. 

• They considerably enhance the quality of the reconstructed radiance field by introducing a radial prior for the breakdown of iris texture in eye pictures. 

• They solve the special problem of collecting characteristics from human eyes by developing a cornea pose refining process that reduces noisy pose estimations of eyeballs. 

These developments broaden the scope of 3D scene reconstruction through neural rendering to handle partially corrupted image observations obtained from eye reflections. This creates new opportunities for research and development in the broader field of accidental imaging to reveal and capture 3D scenes outside the visible line of sight. Their website has several videos showcasing their developments in action.

Figure 1 shows the reconstruction of a radiation field using eye reflections. The eye of a person is very reflecting. They demonstrate that using only the reflections of the subject’s eyes, it is possible to rebuild and display the 3D scene they are viewing from a series of frames that record a moving head.

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