Virtual Wave Optics for Non-Line-of-Sight Imaging

Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) imaging allows to observe objects partially or fully occluded from direct view, by analyzing indirect diffuse reflections off a secondary, relay surface. Despite its many potential applications, existing methods lack practical usability due to several shared limitations, including the assumption of single scattering only, lack of occlusions, and Lambertian reflectance. We lift these limitations by transforming the NLOS problem into a virtual Line-Of-Sight (LOS) one. Since imaging information cannot be recovered from the irradiance arriving at the relay surface, we introduce the concept of the phasor field, a mathematical construct representing a fast variation in irradiance. We show that NLOS light transport can be modeled as the propagation of a phasor field wave, which can be solved accurately by the Rayleigh-Sommerfeld diffraction integral. We demonstrate for the first time NLOS reconstruction of complex scenes with strong multiply scattered and ambient light, arbitrary materials, large depth range, and occlusions. Our method handles these challenging cases without explicitly developing a light transport model. By leveraging existing fast algorithms, we outperform existing methods in terms of execution speed, computational complexity, and memory use. We believe that our approach will help unlock the potential of NLOS imaging, and the development of novel applications not restricted to lab conditions. For example, we demonstrate both refocusing and transient NLOS videos of real-world, complex scenes with large depth.

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