Microsoft revives your old damaged photos

Microsoft has teamed up with the University of Hong Kong to create a new technique for restoring damaged photos. Thanks to artificial intelligence, the tool is able to erase most of the degradations due to time on analog photos.

Does Microsoft intend to offer in the near future a service to erase the ravages of time on old photos? This is in any case what a new article seems to suggest , the fruit of a collaboration between engineers from Microsoft and researchers from the University of Hong Kong. They propose there a new method to restore silver photos thanks to artificial intelligence .

Artificial intelligence is based on Deep Learning and Generative Antagonistic Neural Networks (GAN). Unlike other approaches that simply use pairs of images including a sharp image and an artificially damaged version, this works by translating the damaged original and the artificially degraded image into a shared latent space . AI can then better understand the changes required.

Photos restored by removing grain, dust, scratches …

The restoration of images is made all the more complex as photographic technology has evolved, which alters the type of deterioration suffered over time. The researchers classified the defects into two categories. The first includes all unstructured issues like noise, blurring, or faded colors . The second category, called structured, includes stripes and stains. These two elements are treated by two different blocks, which interact to better target the restoration.

The first results of this tool are particularly impressive. AI is capable of removing grain, scratches and other defects without leaving obvious traces of manipulation. It remains to be seen whether Microsoft intends to offer the algorithm to the general public, whether in an experimental version, or even integrate it as a filter in its Photos application on Windows.