We analyze light propagation in an unknown scene using projectors and cameras that operate at transient timescales. In this new photography regime, the projector emits a spatio-temporal 3D signal and the camera receives a transformed version of it, determined by the set of all light transport paths through the scene and the time delays they induce. The underlying 3D-to-3D transformation encodes scene geometry and global transport in great detail, but individual transport components (e.g., direct reflections, inter-reflections, caustics, etc.) are coupled nontrivially in both space and time. To overcome this complexity, we observe that transient light transport is always separable in the temporal frequency domain. This makes it possible to analyze transient transport one temporal frequency at a time by trivially adapting techniques from conventional projector-to-camera transport. We use this idea in a prototype that offers three never-seen-before abilities: (1) acquiring time-of-flight depth images that are robust to general indirect transport, such as interreflections and caustics; (2) distinguishing between direct views of objects and their mirror reflection; and (3) using a photonic mixer device to capture sharp, evolving wavefronts of "light-in-flight".
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design