Ohio, US: Researchers at University of Dayton in Ohio, US, developed a programme that allows surveillance systems to quickly transmit very large, high quality images. The university claimed it as a breakthrough in image processing technology that will allow those monitoring the systems to clearly see and react to what is happening in real time.
Funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory, the programme is designed to provide better images faster from surveillance aircraft to personnel on the ground
Bill Turri, group leader for remote sensing at the University of Dayton Research Institute, said the need for improved image processing has become more critical in recent years with the increased use of “layered imaging” in surveillance. Multiple images taken by a variety of cameras — including traditional and infrared — are digitally “fused” together to create photographs that depict the landscape in rich dimensional and thermal detail. But at hundreds of megapixels each, layered images are extremely large and require significant computer storage space and transmission time.
Compressing images reduces file size for speedier transmission, but using the typical JPEG compression standard — which digital cameras use — means some image information is lost during compression, Turri added.
When an image is reopened for viewing after compression, it will return to its original size, minus the information lost during compression — which reduces its quality. A newer compression standard — JPEG 2000 — sacrifices far less information during compression, so image quality is maintained. But this standard requires a much longer processing time.
To address the speed-quality conundrum, Turri and his team turned to hardware acceleration technology. Rather than relying on standard pre-programmed computer chips, the researchers experimented with a specialised class of processing hardware called Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) — integrated circuits that act like “digital blank slates” that can be customized to the needs of the user and application.
Source: University of Dayton