…Digital image, that is.


You know when you’re watching a detective show like CSI, and they enlarge and enhance an image to an unbelievable resolution?



Movies and TV shows like these used to make me angry. I mean, there’s no way that we could actually be able to see tiny details that were lost by poor quality cameras and blurry lenses, …right?


Wrong! Using a new mathematical algorithm, we can actually bring photos to a higher resolution than the original. This means that CSI scientists can generate a more detailed image without fear of jumping the shark.

I’m sure you’re wondering by this point: how can this be?! You must be pulling my leg! Well I do not want your leg, nor am I pulling on it. That would be creepy. Before, people would have to make assumptions as to what’s in a blurry image, like if there are letters you could hardly make out, you would have to guess what it says. But as you may expect, this method is not very reliable.


Instead, scientists have discovered that adding noise to parts of a photo makes it less ‘sparse,’ or void of data. The noise fills in the gaps with amazing accuracy, as you can see in the pictures to the left. The top row shows the original image–the left is the picture, and the right is the frequency map. The middle shows the same image, only foggy, and the bottom contains the reconstructed picture.


After seeing what this new technology can do, I’m sure it won’t be long before the algorithm finds itself in the hands of detectives across the globe.


But let’s get past the obvious crime-fighting applications and ask ourselves, how can this help us as geeks? I’m probably proposing something a little too difficult for this wonder-working algorithm, but just picture applying the image enhancer to your TV screen. And then dusting off your old Nintendo system. And then playing, say, Mario on it. What would that look like?! I know that with the release of more recent games, we can play a higher resolution version of Mario, but when you think about the original Mario game, you think in giant pixels clouding your vision of the little red plumber from Italy.


I just had an even better idea! One word: Doom.


If you’d like to learn more about the algorthingy, click here for the only article I found on it.