New international research collaboration on Plenoptics

Mon 28 Mar 2022 11:18

“We get to work with the top experts from all over the world, and researchers from all over the world come here to us in Sundsvall”

Mårten Sjöström working with a camera in the lab.

The Plenoptima research project is a European collaboration between universities, research institutes and partner organizations and is funded by EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie. The cooperation will work towards developing an interdisciplinary approach to plenoptic imaging. Professor Mårten Sjöström leads the project for Mid Sweden University and will with colleagues supervise six of the 15 doctoral students participating in the project.

What is Plenoptics?

Plenoptics is about understanding and describing light for imaging; one can simply say that Plenoptics is the next generation 3D technology. Plenoptics uses several cameras to capture the light from an object such that the technology captures the direction and position of light. Then the data is processed and finally recreated in a visualization. Plenopics enables, among other things, changing the focus and perspective in an image afterwards, which can be very useful in, for example, remote control.

What is the research about in the Plenoptima project?

In the Plenoptima research project, five universities and research institutes collaborate with ten different companies from all over Europe.  Together, our research cover the whole process, everything from image capture, to data compression and final visualization. Mid Sweden University’s contribution includes developing compression methods for image data and machine learning models that can more quickly and efficiently process all data but still maintain image quality.

The other universities are looking at new materials that can replace today’s optics and how to develop deep neural networks to combine images correctly.

The project runs a doctoral programme for joint and double doctoral degrees and has employed 15 PhD-students from all over the world. Mid Sweden University supervises six of them and will also host different summer and winter schools that the project arranges for the participants.

How did the cooperation start that led to this project?

It’s a long way back. In 2013, I arranged a summer school in plenoptics where I got to know Professor Atanas Gotchev from Tampere University in Finland. We started to talk about how we could expand our research collaboration. We ended up applying and having granted a joint project, ETN-FPI — European Training Network on Full Parallax Imaging, funded by EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie. When that project ended in 2019, we wanted to continue and expand our successful collaboration. We decided, with the support of Tampere University Grants Office, to submit an application for a new collaborative project that resulted in Plenopima.

What is the objective of the cooperation?

The main objective of the project is to create a network of young researchers who will become future experts in the field of Plenopics. We create an opportunity for them to make invaluable contacts for their future career. Internationalization is another important objective which I personally appreciate very much. I have participated in many different exchange programmes and have lived a lot abroad. This widens the personal network, which is of great benefit to the research. It is interesting to meet other people and new cultures. What is fantastic about such collaborations is that we get to work with the top experts from all over the world, and that researchers from all over the world come here to us in Sundsvall. The international exchange with outstanding universities is very enlightening!

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The page was updated 3/29/2022