Underwater optical imaging enables scientists to study everything from biological ecosystems to ancient shipwrecks, but the underwater environment limits the scale and quality of the images obtained. Lack of ambient light makes it impossible to image wide areas or large objects, and images are often distorted when the camera perspective interacts with irregularities on the sea floor. Photomosaicking, which involves collecting overlapping images and then stretching and warping them until they fit together, helps address these problems, but existing photomosaicking methods were developed for land-based projects and are difficult to adapt to underwater conditions.
Researchers in the Deep Submergence Laboratory at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) developed photomosaicking software specifically for underwater imaging. WHOI used several MathWorks products throughout the project.
"Our work would have been impossible without MATLAB and Image Processing Toolbox," says Hanumant Singh, associate scientist in the Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering Department at WHOI. "Trying to do the same thing in C would have taken a lot more time and effort, and would have been much more complex."