MIT Joins In The Search For Bigfoot, Sort Of

By Joelle Renstrom | Updated

This article is more than 2 years old

bigfootWe haven’t had a Bigfoot post in a while, so it’s high time to catch up with that mythological beast, or at least, the folks who believe it exists and that they have evidence of it’s real. Recently, the search for Sasquatch has gained both new life and credibility with MIT joining in the hunt. Or more accurately, some of their technology has.

True believer Matt Knapp, who runs the Bigfoot Crossroads blog, is frustrated at the slow pace and loose ends of current research. Technology has hindered the search more than helped, given the number of fraudulent photos and videos available online, as well as the ease with which misinformation spreads. Knapp now requests that all those in pursuit of the truth use technology created by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL).

Eulerian Video Magnification (EVM) exposes variations in videos that the naked eye can’t discern. The process takes footage and applies spatial decomposition and temporal filtering, and then magnifies the resulting signal to reveal the information we couldn’t see before. This enables viewers, for example, to see blood flow in the face, as well as miniscule motions that might otherwise go unnoticed. Using the process, someone could target individual pixels in an image or video and magnify them up to 100 times.

Initially, the program was designed to help doctors make diagnoses, but Knapp argues that it could and should be used in the Bigfoot search, especially since the technology is free and downloadable. EVM could reveal information about movements, and basically be used to debunk videos of, say, someone wearing a big hairy gorilla costume. Since there’s no technology specifically designed for Bigfoot verification (go figure), people who are as serious as Knapp need to use whatever they can get their hands on.

The video below shows EVM applied to famous Bigfoot footage shot in 1967 by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin. The person using the software checks the blood flow of the creature in question, though Knapp doesn’t think whoever used it did so properly, or isn’t qualified to draw conclusions from what the EVM revealed, which makes sense given that I can’t tell what they revealed. I feel a Bigfoot tracking training and conference coming on.