The detection of high contrast companions at small angular separation appears feasible in conventional direct
images using the self-calibration properties of interferometric observable quantities. In the high-Strehl regime,
available from space borne observatories and using AO in the mid-infrared, quantities comparable to the closurephase
that are used with great success in non-redundant masking inteferometry, can be extracted from direct
images, even taken with a redundant aperture. These new phase-noise immune observable quantities, called
Kernel-phases, are determined a-priori from the knowledge of the geometry of the pupil only. Re-analysis of
HST/NICMOS archive and other ground based AO images, using this new Kernel-phase algorithm, demonstrates
the power of the method, and its ability to detect companions at the resolution limit and beyond.