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Compact light field photography towards versatile three-dimensional vision


Inspired by natural living systems, modern cameras can attain three-dimensional vision via multi-view geometry like compound eyes in flies, or time-of-flight sensing like echolocation in bats. However, high-speed, accurate three-dimensional sensing capable of scaling over an extensive distance range and coping well with severe occlusions remains challenging. Here, we report compact light field photography for acquiring large-scale light fields with simple optics and a small number of sensors in arbitrary formats ranging from two-dimensional area to single-point detectors, culminating in a dense multi-view measurement with orders of magnitude lower dataload. We demonstrated compact light field photography for efficient multi-view acquisition of time-of-flight signals to enable snapshot three-dimensional imaging with an extended depth range and through severe scene occlusions. Moreover, we show how compact light field photography can exploit curved and disconnected surfaces for real-time non-line-of-sight 3D vision. Compact light field photography will broadly benefit high-speed 3D imaging and open up new avenues in various disciplines.

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