UC Santa Cruz researchers developed a new way to print photographs on special "reflectance paper," covered in dimples that reflect light as if the image is a 3D object. From UCSC:
"If the paper is flat, it will always look flat no matter what you print on it. So the question became how to get the surface of the paper to have geometry to it," (computer science professor James) Davis said. "With the reflectance paper, for each pixel we have a little dimple that has all angular directions on its surface. Now we can print ink over it in a way that controls the angles of light that will be reflected from each pixel."
The mathematical "reflectance function" describes how light is reflected from each point on an object. Measuring the reflectance functions for an object or scene can be done by taking photographs lit from many different lighting directions. Art historians and restorers use these techniques for documenting important works of art and historical artifacts, said Davis, a computer graphics expert who has developed software for displaying the results on a monitor.
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.