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Camera that Sees through Smoke and Fog Underway 220

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the looking-glasses dept.
tomschuring writes "The Age has a story about IATIA, who have been given $2.7 million by the Defence Department to fund development of a military spy camera capable of seeing through fog, smoke and dust storms. The technology uses a highly sophisticated camera that captures three images simultaneously through a single lens. Images thus resolved from between the particles making up fog, smoke, and dust storms are formed into a single picture of the hidden target."
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Camera that Sees through Smoke and Fog Underway

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  • by RKBA (622932) * on Friday September 24, 2004 @12:22AM (#10337385)
    BugMeNot [] username and password:
    Username: registrationsucks1 Password: asdoestheage

  • by tqft (619476) <> on Friday September 24, 2004 @12:30AM (#10337428) Homepage Journal
    Some detailed links on how it works te s.asp

    he algorithm has a number of key advantages, including:

    * Returns phase and intensity information independently
    * Provides quantitative, absolute phase (with DC offset)
    * Is a rapid, stable, non-iterative solution
    * Works with non-uniform and partically coherent illumination
    * Offers relaxed beam conditioning
    * Solves the twin image problem of holography
    * Has been experimentally applied to a number of radiations

    You can find their list of patents on theire site. Digging into these should give you more detail.

    I don't care I am going on holidays for 3 weeks in 3hours

  • by Stormwatch (703920) <> on Friday September 24, 2004 @12:41AM (#10337484) Homepage
    Here's what you want, a camera that sees through clothes []. Sheesh...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2004 @12:46AM (#10337499)
  • Re:interesting but (Score:2, Informative)

    by 6169 (318124) on Friday September 24, 2004 @12:53AM (#10337532)
    Actually it doesn't seem like they're using parallax, though that's what I first thought as well. I think it actually has to do with the fact that all transparent or semi-transparent substances change the phase of light passing through them.

    As far as I can tell, the three images are taken slightly out of focus from each other. One is in focus, and the other two are positively and negatively defocused.

    You then use fourier analysis to take the difference in phase of the images viewed from the three lenses and produce a "cleaned up" image where as much of the stuff that is shifting the light frequency is removed.
  • Re:also (Score:3, Informative)

    by suckmysav (763172) <suckmysav@g[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Friday September 24, 2004 @12:57AM (#10337545) Journal

    "IIRC Sony accidentaly did that. If you engaged the night vision you could see through clothing.

    You also needed an IR pass filter [] to do that, but otherwise you are correct.

    "However, I think they recalled all the cameras that were capable of this.

    I don't think they recalled them, they just stopped making them like that.

  • Re:density (Score:5, Informative)

    by ajna (151852) on Friday September 24, 2004 @01:06AM (#10337581) Homepage Journal
    This system does not rely on resolution. You might be imagining it as taking two (or more) pictures shifted horizontally, perhaps, and somehow subtracting the intervening particle's optical effects, leaving only the subject matter. This is not how the system works, however: instead, as the summary briefly but correctly stated it relies on three images being taken, one focused in the plane being studied and the other two focused before and after that plane. Quantitative Phase Microscopy [] is the process of extracting additional data about the subject in the plane from the data in all three images. Why it doesn't rely on the resolution of the sensor is because the addition information is derived from the optical properties of the light passing through/reflected off the surface, not from sensor trickery.

    I guess this could be used on cars given enough processor speed, but it's really not applicable in this case, as it yields additional information about something in a plane (parallel to the sensor of the imaging device -- imagine a brick wall ahead of you when driving). When driving, the plane, say, 50m ahead of the car is moving just as fast as you are, and seeing ultra-crisp images of that plane for the instant that it is 50m ahead would be of dubious utility imo.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2004 @01:26AM (#10337649)
    The first click per session at the Age or SMH does not require registration, if you have cookies enabled.
  • Re:Nope (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2004 @01:52AM (#10337729)
    Except that has nothing to do with how the these cameras work, which is not by relying on individual particles moving out of the way to give a clear view of different parts of the image, but rather by reconstructing the image from phase contrast.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2004 @01:54AM (#10337739)
    You're both wrong. It takes pictures from the same angle, and does not use multiple wavelengths. Rather, it uses the phase differences between multiple focal planes.
  • Re:Parallax (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2004 @01:57AM (#10337748)
    It doesn't use the concept of parallax, and it doesn't take multiple copies of the same original image. Rather, it takes three images focused at different planes, and uses the phase differences in light from traveling different distances to reconstruct the original.
  • Re:Better solution (Score:2, Informative)

    by KD5YPT (714783) on Friday September 24, 2004 @02:09AM (#10337781) Journal
    The problem is that those camera only works will in areas with low temperature (night sea, night sky, moderately cool weather). In desert where sand storm kicks up or in picking out idle targets (stationary artillery for example that was not moving for a long time), infrared sensors are pretty useless.
  • Re:also (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gordonjcp (186804) on Friday September 24, 2004 @02:37AM (#10337854) Homepage
    Actually, it was because it *didn't* have an IR filter - that was how the "NightShot" stuff worked. Images had an odd greyish tinge with weirdly glowing eyes. If you can stand it, look at the dark bits in the video for All Saints - Pure Shores for an example.

    Nearly all CCD cameras are sensitive to infrared. You can test IR emitters by pointing a camcorder at them and watching for the flashes. I made a very effective IR surveillance camera by popping the front off the lens of a Philips Vesta Pro webcam (get the blade of a table knife into the little groove a couple of mm back from the front and twist) and removing the IR filter.

  • OASys (Score:5, Informative)

    by philipsblows (180703) on Friday September 24, 2004 @02:54AM (#10337897) Homepage

    In college my clinic team worked with Northrop Electronic Systems on their OASys project, or Obstacle Avoidance System. It was a laser + computer navigation system that would scan the horizon through smoke or other aerosols and generate a "safe passage" navigation image to the helicopter pilot using it. Supposedly it worked pretty well (they were still working on it after our 9 months on our piece of the project). It was basically a rotating laser optics assembly that would trace a cone in space, and the assembly would scan in the horizontal plane to yield the losenge shape (they used that term).

    Here's a funny little twist. When we went to the site to visit the developers of the project at Northrop, we stopped off in a meeting room that had on one of the walls a poster for the OASys project, featuring a helicopter with a losenge-shaped window of visibility depicted against some trees with some smoke and other debris in the air.

    Nearby on the same wall was another poster for a weapon system, the name of which escapes me. It was the same poster, but in the middle of the losenge-shaped window of visibility was a little gunsight, and I think the helecopter had some weapons slung.

    We asked our liason person whether the two projects were related, and he assured us they were completely different as we were brought to another area.

    Our professor on the project was a Yugoslavian National, and this was in 1992, so you can imagine how fun the rest of our visit was when they found that out....

  • Re:density (Score:3, Informative)

    by ajna (151852) on Friday September 24, 2004 @02:55AM (#10337904) Homepage Journal
    There is the possibility, yes. TV generally features items in a single plane of focus (enhanced by depth of field) and the raster sweep is in this plane. The problem in applying this technology to cars, for example, lies in that the "sweep" is of the plane itself. Of course it's possible in theory, but it's a different problem than what has already been worked out so throughly in television.
  • Re:also (Score:5, Informative)

    by WhiteDeath (737946) on Friday September 24, 2004 @03:04AM (#10337932) Homepage

    I found this site [] about 6 years ago...

    they sell the filters, and give a good run-down on the theory.

  • by GooberToo (74388) on Friday September 24, 2004 @05:03AM (#10338270)
    Airplanes! No more grounding because of fog.

    As long as there is ground visibility, taking off is the easy part. It's landing that'll kill ya if you're not careful. In other words, as long as you have some visibliity to taxi and roll down a runway, you can easily get into the air. The problem is, getting safely back on the ground. ;)
  • Re:Already exists (Score:2, Informative)

    by Phoebus0 (446231) on Friday September 24, 2004 @08:51AM (#10338997)
    Actually, they are called "Thermal Imaging Cameras", and they are cheaper than that. Multiple companies make them, ours are made by MSA. My department just purchased one for around $12k, so they are cheap enough to carry one per apparatus. You can get them even cheaper if you want fewer features. Almost every volunteer department I am aware of has at least one.

    Generally they aren't restricted by particles in the air until the particles get large enough to block the infrared. In some situations the we can actually find the victim based upon their body temperature being cooler than ambient, rather than warmer than ambient. Also a good trick with the modern TICs is that you can put your hand on a window for a few seconds, pull it off, and you scan still see the shape of the hand in the warmth on the window.

"Wish not to seem, but to be, the best." -- Aeschylus