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Suren Jayasuriya receives Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship

Monday, April 20, 2015

Suren Jayasuriya recently received a Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship for his joint proposal with Achuta Kadambi, a Ph.D. student of Dr. Ramesh Raskar at the MIT Media Lab's Camera Culture group. Their proposal, “Nanophotography: Computational CMOS Sensor Design for 3-D Imaging” is focused on creating robust platforms for 3-D imaging.

Recently a lot of interest in 3-D imaging has focused on Time of Flight imaging such as the new Microsoft Kinect for entertainment, robotics, unmanned vehicles, and other applications. Unfortunately, these systems are not robust to adverse conditions such as rain, smoke, or fog, which limit their deployment for outdoor scenes, in robotics, and UAV platforms. The main problem is multipath interference: multiple optical paths distort the measurement of depth at the sensor.

The two are bringing their expertise together to create a new robust camera, with Achuta’s signal processing techniques for nanophotography and Suren’s background in CMOS image sensors. They are designing CMOS 3-D sensors that can work at high modulation frequencies for improved system performance. Such a sensor could unlock new applications such as visualizing light as it travels in flight through a scene, looking through scattering media such as fog or smoke, and even seeing around corners for non line-of-sight imaging.

“Our hope is to build the next generation of 3-D sensors that can work despite adverse conditions by leveraging our combined expertise in CMOS sensors and signal processing,” said Suren.

The Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship program (QInF) is focused on recognizing, rewarding, and mentoring innovative Ph.D. students across a broad range of technical research areas, based on Qualcomm’s core values of innovation, execution, and teamwork. QInF is open to students from a preselected variety of top U.S. based and international schools.

This year’s competition saw 146 applications, 35 finalists, and 8 winning teams. Qualcomm Research’s top engineers carefully review submitted proposals and select the QInF finalists, who are then invited to present their proposals to a panel of executive judges. Winning students earn a one-year, $100,000 fellowship and are mentored by Qualcomm engineers to facilitate the success of the proposed research. Suren and Achuta will share the $100,000 fellowship prize.

Suren is a Ph.D. student in Cornell ECE under the direction of Associate Professor Alyosha Molnar. His research interests are in computational imaging and photography, mixed-signal integrated circuits and sensors, and computer graphics/vision. He received a Jacobs Fellowship from Cornell ECE in 2012, an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2013, and the 2015 Cornell ECE Outstanding Ph.D. Teaching Assistant Award. Before Cornell, he received a B.S. with departmental honors in mathematics and a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh.

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