Occluded Imaging with Time of Flight Sensors

Achuta Kadambi, Hang Zhao, Boxin Shi, Ramesh Raskar


We explore the question of whether phase-based time-of-flight (TOF) range cameras can be used for looking around corners and through scattering diffusers. By connecting TOF measurements with theory from array signal processing, we conclude that performance depends on two primary factors: camera modulation frequency and the width of the specular lobe (“shininess”) of the wall. For purely Lambertian walls, commodity TOF sensors achieve resolution on the order of meters between targets. For seemingly diffuse walls, such as posterboard, the resolution is drastically reduced, to the order of 10cm. In particular, we find that the relationship between reflectance and resolution is nonlinear—a slight amount of shininess can lead to a dramatic improvement in resolution. Since many realistic scenes exhibit a slight amount of shininess, we believe that off-the-shelf TOF cameras can look around corners.

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