Google and MIT Researchers Can Now Remove Reflections From Photos Taken Through Windows

Shooting through glass can be tricky. Although a reflection can occasionally add an interesting visual element to a scene, it seems like they often end up distracting from whatever you were actually trying to capture. A circular polarizing filter can help cut down on these reflections, but if you are shooting from your phone your options are limited.

Luckily, a group of researchers from Google and MIT have figured out a way to automatically remove these unwanted reflections from images. In their paper, “A Computational Approach for Obstruction-Free Photography” the researchers present an algorithm for removing an unwanted reflection in a window or a distracting element from the foreground—like a chainlink fence.

By shooting a short video of a scene, rather than a single still photograph, the research team were able to use their algorithm to separate the image into background and foreground layers.

Check out the video below for an in-depth explanation of their findings.