Creepy AI tech turns pixellated photos into HD pictures 60 times sharper
World News

Creepy AI tech turns pixellated photos into HD pictures 60 times sharper

Researchers have created an impressive tool to de-pixelate a blurry photo using artificial intelligence technology, making them up to 64 times sharper in the process.

The tool can turn unrecognised portraits to realistic-looking faces using an AI system that “imagines” features such as fine lines, eyelashes that are not visible in the original photo.

But the system cannot be used to identify people from a security camera.

Cynthia Rudin, computer scientist who led the team at the Duke University in North Carolina, said: “Never have super-resolution images been created at this resolution before with this much detail.

“It is capable of generating new faces that don’t exist, but look plausibly real.”



She added that the previous technology can only scale an image of a face up to eight times its original resolution.

The new technique can also be applied in various fields ranging from medicine and microscopy to astronomy and satellite imagery.

A short clip that was shown at a virtual conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) reveals how the method, known as PULSE, takes low-res shots of a portrait and creates sharp, detailed faces.

The tool learns to locate the key features of a face and generates a set of similar ones with striking details such as pores, wrinkles, and wisps of hair, in higher resolution.



By using AI technology PULSE, the tool is able to create a close-match with striking details

It is convincing enough to be mistaken as a real person.

Alex Damian, a Duke math major in the research team, said: “Our algorithm still manages to do something with it, which is something that traditional approaches can’t do.”

The team also asked 40 people to rate 1,440 images, which are generated via PULSE and five other scaling methods, on a scale of one to five.

The result shows PULSE did the best, scoring almost as high as HD photos of actual people.

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Pat Reaves
Pat Reaves writes for our World News section. Having spent his youth traveling from one country to another, Pat has incurred an education that is truly international in culture, academia, and language. His quick thinking and spontaneity has landed him in the sector where stories happen without any warning. He is an extremely patient and nurturing writer who lets a story take its course without interference and prejudice.

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