Upsampling techniques to create larger versions of low-resolution images have been around for a long time – at least as long as TV detectives have been asking computers to 'enhance' images. Common linear methods fill in new pixels using simple and fixed combinations of nearby existing pixel values, but fail to increase image detail. The engineers at Google's research lab have now created a new way of upsampling images that achieves noticeably better results than the previously existing methods.
RAISR (Rapid and Accurate Image Super-Resolution) uses machine learning to train an algorithm using pairs of images, one low-resolution, the other with a high pixel count. RAISR creates filters that can recreate image detail that is comparable to the original, when applied to each pixel of a low-resolution image. Filters are trained according to edge features that are found in specific small areas of images, including edge direction, edge strength and how directional the egde is. The training process with a database of 10000 image pairs takes approximately an hour.