Blind and reference-free fluorescence lifetime estimation via consumer time-of-flight sensors


Fluorescence lifetime imaging is a significant bio-imaging tool that finds important applications in life-sciences. Widely known applications include cancer detection and DNA sequencing. To that end, fluorescence microscopy which is at the heart of bio-imaging is an electronically and optically sophisticated device which is prohibitively expensive. Our work is demonstrates the fluorescence microscopy like functionality can be achieved by a simple, consumer sensor such as the Microsoft Kinect which costs about $100. This is done by trading-off the precision in optics and electronics for sophistication in computational methods. Not only this allows for massive cost reduction but leads to several advances in the area. For example, our method is calibration-free in that we do not assume sample's relative placement with respect to the sensor. Furthermore, our work opens new pathways of interaction between bio-imaging, optics and computer vision communities.