Image Analysis of the Shroud of Turin

Above is a natural light photograph of the Shroud of Turin -- the image has properties similar to a photo negative.

Vision The Shroud of Turin is a large linen cloth with a highly detailed and mysterious image on it.  It is likely that detailed analysis of the image would provide insight into the image formation mechanism, one of the great mysteries associated with this religious artifact.  Research conducted on the SOT (Shroud of Turin) has revealed for example that the image is only present on the very surface of the fibers, a few hundred nanometers thick.  This is itself an incredible fact.  A related fact is that the "take-up" of image varies across the cloth, and this visually follows weave lines which seems to imply that the image is affected by the yarn-lots.  See for an interesting account of the shroud.   Measure the Shroud of Turin using Mario Latendresse's JavaScript. MEASURE ...

More recently Latendresse has added a new JavaScript application to his sindonology site which is even more impressive.  It is called Shroud-Scope and allows you to examine very detailed images of the shroud with pixel resolution down to .17mm in the case of the Durante 2002 image.

Special thanks are due to Barrie Schwortz, Documenting Photographer of the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) at the 1978 exposition, for permission to use his copyrighted images. (image above is reversed by PhotoShop® but not mirrored)

Objectives 1) One objective is to analyze the "banding" effects that appear to be related to the weave of the shroud and attempt to build a "weave rider" which would follow bands and build a data base that tracks the banding.  Once bands are isolated the sensitivity of the band to the image generating phenomena can be estimated and used to normalize the image.  Thus one objective is 1) to remove the banding effects from the image and see what results from that.  A second objective  is 2) exploring the 3D characteristic attributed to the image to see to what degree these claims hold up and whether using smoothing or other processing algorithms the 3D characteristics can be improved by removing noise.  Other objectives can be easily added during brainstorming.  A 320MB TIF image is available for analysis.


Student Contributions:

CSCI 410 Signal and Image Processing Spring 2010


Student Teams' Work

CSCI 410 Signal and Image Processing class from Spring of 2010 from left to right and top to bottom, Adam Brill, Justin Eckard, Morgan Foster, Brian Griffin, Janell Joyner, Adam Nelson, Randy Painter, and Tyler Phillippe.  For the Shroud of Turin Processing Project the class divided itself into three groups.  Team Awesome:Adam Brill, Brian Griffin, Janell Joyner, and Tyler Phillippe, Team Bravo: Justin Eckard, Morgan Foster, and Adam Nelson, and Team Painter: Randy Painter.

class group shot
Adam Hollenberg (Class of 2006)
Preliminary Investigation of the Banding Phenomena on the Shroud of Turin using MATLAB Adam's Paper

Adam used a cropped 10 megabyte TIF image of the ventral image of the head/face of the man of the shroud and worked on creating algorithms to bring out the vertical and horizontal banding using rolling vertical and horizontal summation.

The tonal range of the image was sufficiently small that the summation only slightly enhanced the bands.  Adam was examining ways to enhance the contrast and suggested those as further work.