Active polarization descattering

Tali Treibitz, Yoav Y. Schechner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Imaging in scattering media such as fog and water is imposrtant but challenging. Images suffer from poor visibility due to backscattering and attenuation. Most prior methods for scene recovery use active illumination scanners (structured and gated), which can be slow and cumbersome, while natural illumination is inapplicable to dark environments. The current paper addresses the need for a non-scanning recovery method, that uses active scene irradiance. We study the formation of images under widefield artificial illumination. Based on the formation model, the paper presents an approach for recovering the object signal. It also yields rough information about the 3D scene structure. The approach can work with compact, simple hardware, having active widefield, polychromatic polarized illumination. The camera is fitted with a polarization analyzer. Two frames of the scene are taken, with different states of the analyzer or polarizer. A recovery algorithm follows the acquisition. It allows both the backscatter and the object reflection to be partially polarized. It thus unifies and generalizes prior polarization-based methods, which had assumed exclusive polarization of either of these components. The approach is limited to an effective range, due to image noise and illumination falloff. Thus, the limits and noise sensitivity are analyzed. We demonstrate the approach in underwater field experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-399
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Dori Yelin, Haim Kermany, Ben Herzberg, and, above all, Einav Namer for their help in the experimental dives. The authors would also like to thank Nadav Shashar for fruitful discussions and great help. Yoav Schechner is a Landau Fellow, supported by the Taub Foundation, and an Alon Fellow. This work was supported by the Israeli Science Foundation (Grant 315/04) and by the Ollendorff Center in the Department of Electrical Engineering, Technion. Tali Treibitz is funded through the BMBF.


  • Computer vision
  • Image recovery
  • Inverse problems
  • Modeling and recovery of physical attributes-
  • Physics-based vision
  • Polarization
  • Scene analysis-color
  • Vision in scattering media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Applied Mathematics


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