Image Classification in the Dark using Quanta Image Sensors

Abhiram Gnanasambandam, Stanley H. Chan ;


State-of-the-art image classifiers are trained and tested using well-illuminated images. These images are typically captured by CMOS image sensors with at least tens of photons per pixel. However, in dark environments when the photon flux is low, image classification becomes difficult because the measured signal is suppressed by noise. In this paper, we present a new low-light image classification solution using Quanta Image Sensors (QIS). QIS are a new type of image sensors that possess photon counting ability without compromising on pixel size and spatial resolution. Numerous studies over the past decade have demonstrated the feasibility of QIS for low-light imaging, but their usage for image classification has not been studied. This paper fills the gap by presenting a novel student-teacher learning scheme which allows us to classify the noisy QIS raw data. We show that with student-teacher learning, we are able to achieve image classification at a photon level of one photon per pixel or lower. Experimental results verify the effectiveness of the proposed method compared to existing solutions."

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