Zooming in to catch the bad guys

June 30, 2009

It's a frequent scene in television crime dramas: Clever police technicians zoom in on a security camera video to read a license plate or capture the face of a hold-up artist. But in real life, enhancing this low-quality video to focus in on important clues hasn't been an easy task. Until now.

Prof. Leonid Yaroslavsky of Tel Aviv University and his colleagues have developed a new video "perfection tool" to help investigators enhance raw video images and identify suspects. Commissioned by a defense-related company to improve what the naked eye cannot see, the tool can be used with live video or with recordings, in color or black-and-white.

"This enhancement of resolution can be a critical factor in locating terrorists or identifying criminal suspects," says Prof. Yaroslavsky. His team's findings were recently published in Optical Letters and the Journal of Real Time Image Processing.

Seeing using computational imaging

The new invention enhances the resolution of raw from security cameras, military binoculars, and standard personal-use video cameras, improving the quality at which the images were originally recorded or transmitted. This can mean the difference between "seeing" trees blowing in the wind and finding a terrorist hiding in those trees.

"Our video perfection tool works to improve visual quality and achieving a higher resolution of the video image," says Prof. Yaroslavsky. Once a commercial partner is found, the device can be integrated into existing technology within a matter of months, he says.

Digitally calming the "turbulent atmosphere"

A major challenge in video analysis is that images of objects become distorted over long distances due to variations in the air that can affect our sight and the "sight" of a camera. In the language of optical science, this is known as a "turbulent atmosphere." A critical image of a person or object can become unstable and almost impossible to identify with any amount of accuracy.

The TAU team exploited the fact that most parts of a video scene remain still. While there are moving objects such as people, animals or vehicles, a major part of the video ― the background -- does not move at all. Using specially designed algorithms, the team built a software application that lets cameras and video analysis equipment stabilize images, allowing objects that are really moving to be distinguished from chaotic atmospheric changes.

The technology will increase the odds of identifying suspects in court, says Prof. Yaroslavsky, but its civilian applications are equally significant. Instead of sending large video files over the Internet, smaller and lower-resolution files could be sent, to be enhanced at their destination points. This could save bandwidth and time.

"It's quite a new approach to perfection," says Prof. Yaroslavsky. "A lot of work has been done in this field, so it's very gratifying to find a new and original application."

Source: Tel Aviv University (news : web)

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3 / 5 (2) Jun 30, 2009
This technology was perfected about 30-35 years ago in the US, by the original people involved in the TERANEX company. They designed to for clarifying satellite recon imagery. The technology has been 'dumbed down' into the teranex branded video scalers and editing hardware for the video, pro video, and Home Theater industry for the past approximately 10 years. Very expensive gear, but if doing the most demanding editing work, there is no other choice.

These are the guys who designed the hardware that made it possible to clean up the images in Sat recon so the US systems could read an open letter on a table from directly above by satellite..on a clear day. It's a form of intelligent interpolation done over a multiple image 'takes' or 'frames'.

Remember, this is 'dumbed down' hardware, but it is still the best that can be bought when it comes to video scaling hardware. Imagine what they are doing today - that we are not allowed to hear about.

So don't believe everything that you hear.
1 / 5 (2) Jun 30, 2009
If it is Israeli, I think there is the possibility that they stole it from the Americans (software source algorithms-stolen defense software/hardware info) and disguising it's origins in some story about universities. maybe the modded software came the from the university..but the original works? I seriously doubt it.
not rated yet Jun 30, 2009
I can't believe that people is caring about if it is Israeli, or Chinese of wathever.

I would really like to see examples of videos, and read how to do it. I think that this kind of developping can enhance anybody life because of CUDA, GPGPU, and increase a lot video compression quality, perfecting internet video quality, and reducing download times.

I want to use it to code for benefit of anybody, and it is not stoling. Any development is done over previous research.
1 / 5 (1) Jul 01, 2009
From the Teranex website:

"Teranex's patented array processing technology was developed and tested over 20 years and eight generations by Lockheed Martin."

So..over 30 years ago. and the teranex stuff is the dumbed down stuff. Ie, not labeled 'critical/secret' by the DOD. Imagine what IS labeled secret. Well, I think some of it just 'got out' via some university in another country....

A country that is renowned for stealing stuff via it's connections.

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