Derya Akkaynak is an oceanographer and engineer working in underwater imaging and vision.
His most recent project, Sea-thru, dives into how we can get clearer images of the underwater world. Akkaynak developed an ingenious algorithm which essentially "removes" the water from underwater photographs.
Why are underwater photos green and blue?
The green-blue hue on underwater images is caused by what researchers call "backscatter". It also occurs because light is distorted and scattered as it travels through water. The resulting haze can make objects appear distorted and obscure distant features.
Akkaynak is testing the Sea-thru algorithm on the Lembeh Strait in Indonesia. When he encounters a large underwater element, such as a coral formation, he places a color chart at its base and photographs it from all angles with a normal underwater camera.
After he has retracted the formation from all sides and measured the distances from the camera, he enters this data and the corresponding images into his computer. At that point the "magic" of his Sea-thru algorithm kicks in.
How does Sea-thru work?
The formula carefully analyzes each pixel and removes color and shape distortions caused by water. The resulting image is a clear image of an underwater landscape. It almost seems that all the water has been removed.
This new method has a wide range of practical applications.
For marine biologists, means clearer images of marine life for more precise analysis. For scientists, means being able to more accurately assess changes in a underwater ecosystem.
Sea-thru is invaluable for even amateur divers looking to capture more specific images of the marine life they discover.
The resulting images are spectacular and evocative.
To see others read all research underlying the creation of the Sea-thru algorithm