Humans As Light Bulbs: 3D Human Reconstruction From Thermal Reflection

Ruoshi Liu · Carl Vondrick

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 018


The relatively hot temperature of the human body causes people to turn into long-wave infrared light sources. Since this emitted light has a larger wavelength than visible light, many surfaces in typical scenes act as infrared mirrors with strong specular reflections. We exploit the thermal reflections of a person onto objects in order to locate their position and reconstruct their pose, even if they are not visible to a normal camera. We propose an analysis-by-synthesis framework that jointly models the objects, people, and their thermal reflections, which allows us to combine generative models with differentiable rendering of reflections. Quantitative and qualitative experiments show our approach works in highly challenging cases, such as with curved mirrors or when the person is completely unseen by a normal camera.

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