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Camera that Sees through Smoke and Fog Underway

CowboyNeal posted about 10 years ago | from the looking-glasses dept.

Graphics 220

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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Warning: Registraton Required (5, Informative)

RKBA (622932) | about 10 years ago | (#10337385)

BugMeNot [bugmenot.com] username and password:
Username: registrationsucks1 Password: asdoestheage

Re:Warning: Registraton Required (1)

bizpile (758055) | about 10 years ago | (#10337419)

Oddly, I did not have to register while the link was still in the Mysterious Future. Very strange.

Re:Warning: Registraton Required (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337649)

The first click per session at the Age or SMH does not require registration, if you have cookies enabled.

Re:Warning: Registraton Required (1)

RLiegh (247921) | about 10 years ago | (#10337426)

alternately, you can use mailinator.com to do a quick, one-off registration.

Re:Warning: Registraton Required (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337526)

Why waste all the extra effort when you can just use a login already made for you?

Re:Warning: Registraton Required (2, Insightful)

RLiegh (247921) | about 10 years ago | (#10337582)

Why waste all the extra effort when you can just use a login already made for you?
Mostly, I was thinking because inevitably whenever someone posts a username/password to a site like that on /., someone decides to be an asshole and change the password.

If that happens, they can fire up a quick throw away account using mailinator.

Warning: Registraton Required-closed up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337608)

Warning: This site has gone out of business. You'll have to look for your fun elsewere (you hope).

confusing life with counterstrike (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337388)

big deal i already see through smoke and fog, i just turn the sprites down

also (1, Offtopic)

loid_void (740416) | about 10 years ago | (#10337395)

if it can what it says, there will be many other uses for this little camera; no doubt coming soon to a cellphone, I'm sure...

Re:also (5, Funny)

brocheck (59415) | about 10 years ago | (#10337423)

I wonder if it would let you see through the particles that many dresses consist of.

I'd buy one.

Re:also (1)

loid_void (740416) | about 10 years ago | (#10337444)

you took the words right out of my mouth; one wouldn't have to sneak up and put the phone under skirts (like the old days), just point and shoot.

Re:also (3, Funny)

Darthmalt (775250) | about 10 years ago | (#10337473)

IIRC Sony accidentaly did that. If you engaged the night vision you could see through clothing. However, I think they recalled all the cameras that were capable of this.

Re:also (1)

ljaguar (245365) | about 10 years ago | (#10337542)

does anybody have any reference on this?

Re:also (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337718)

Yeah there was a sony camera that could see though some types of clothing. It was all in a filter that was placed over the lens. You can get such filters for any still/video camera. People have been using them to do undercover porn ever since.

Re:also (2, Informative)

suckmysav (763172) | about 10 years ago | (#10337545)

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

You also needed an IR pass filter [advanced-i...igence.com] 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:also (5, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | about 10 years ago | (#10337549)

If they make one that can see through fingers and lenscaps, I am so there!

I hope this is declassified at some point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337525)

It sounds like this would be an absolute godsend for aircraft.

Re:also (5, Insightful)

wwelch (168084) | about 10 years ago | (#10337768)

Hopefully fire departments will be able to afford this technology so that fire fighters will be able to see people through the smoke of the fire...

videogames (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337397)

Will this technology allow me to see through fog in OpenGL videogames? Your thoughts?

Chopper 4! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337399)

Chopper 4 can see through fog! ...yeah, I'm probably the only one who remembers that awful SNL sketch. Nevermind.

Re:Chopper 4! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337676)

John John Mackie Accu-cast? The one where he want's the bitch-ass storm to make him a sandwhich?

density (5, Insightful)

Coneasfast (690509) | about 10 years ago | (#10337412)

how dense can the fog particles be? this camera would have to have an extremely large resolution to do this kind of thing. anyone have any specs on this?

the uses for this are endless, eg, if the technology becomes cheap enough, we can have this in cars to help driving during foggy weather.

Re:density (1)

rmsimpso (807681) | about 10 years ago | (#10337490)

anyone have any specs on this? I'm sure the Defense Department does, try asking them.

Re:density (4, Informative)

ajna (151852) | about 10 years ago | (#10337581)

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 [google.com] 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.

Sweeeeet (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337414)

I want one adapted to take three simultaenous pictures from a single lens, which can then resolve between the fibers in women's clothing, which will then allow me to -- you know.

Re:Sweeeeet (1, Troll)

DongleFondle (655040) | about 10 years ago | (#10337472)

. . . masturbate even more than you already do?

Re:Sweeeeet (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337517)

...not possible, unless you find a way to slow down time...

Other versions available... (5, Funny)

physicsphairy (720718) | about 10 years ago | (#10337416)

"that captures three images simultaneously through a single lens." There is also a Kodak version, where one set of pictures is lost, another is misdeveloped, and the third is inadvertently sent to your ex with the same middle initial.

lol... (-1, Redundant)

here4fun (813136) | about 10 years ago | (#10337425)

but can it see through shirts?

Unused links on how it works - some detail (5, Informative)

tqft (619476) | about 10 years ago | (#10337428)

Some detailed links on how it works

http://www.iatia.com.au/technology/insideQpi.asp

http://www.iatia.com.au/technology/applicationNo 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

Re:Unused links on how it works - some detail (1)

shoolz (752000) | about 10 years ago | (#10337659)

This certainly seems to be some very interesting material on the subject.

Is anybody able to dumb-it-down by about 7 notches so I can understand it :p

Serously. I'm quite interested.

Can it see through smoke and mirrors? (5, Funny)

telly333 (659241) | about 10 years ago | (#10337432)

Just in time for politics.slashdot.org!


telly

Re:Can it see through smoke and mirrors? (2, Funny)

arose (644256) | about 10 years ago | (#10337694)

Yes, in fact it can. Here's the resulting image: politics without smoke and mirrors [puresilence.org] .

Bathrooms! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337436)

This will be great for sneaking pics of steamy foggy highschool girl's washrooms.

Re:Bathrooms! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337465)

This will be great for sneaking pics of steamy foggy highschool girl's washrooms.

Back at our old high school, a group of guys actually went to the effort of boring a hole through several inches of concrete separating the boys and girls' locker rooms. We would keep a patch on the peep hole, but when the coast was clear we could get a clear line of sight into the change room. MOST FUCKING AWESOME THING EVER. It was a couple years into college before I saw anything quite as awesome as what the peep hole showed us.

god bless the fucking peep hole

- guys from my school, you know who you are

3D? (3, Funny)

Nathdot (465087) | about 10 years ago | (#10337438)

The technology uses a highly sophisticated camera that captures three images simultaneously through a single lens

Unfortunately the image cannot be viewed without Red+Blue 3D glasses.

Re:3D? (0, Offtopic)

lakcaj (811907) | about 10 years ago | (#10337471)

Are you trying to sound:

A. Funny?
B. Stupid?
C. A little from A and a little from B?

Re:3D? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337519)

Trying to sound funny and stupid always worked for Doctor Who.

Dense Camera Arrays for seeing through bushes (5, Interesting)

vectra14 (470008) | about 10 years ago | (#10337441)

These guys at stanford have done some really amazing stuff that's directly related. Except that they has literally dozens of cameras (as seen in their ppt), and their research seems to concentrate on multifocal image reconstruction (see ppt slides, presentation is quite good)

Link [stanford.edu] (has cool results links)

Re:Dense Camera Arrays for seeing through bushes (5, Interesting)

ajna (151852) | about 10 years ago | (#10337512)

The Stanford work is actually entirely different. They utilize parallax -- in other words, their cameras are in physically distinct locations and see the scene with different perspectives. The IATIA work utilizes a single point of view, with images captured with the focal plane at the desired location and then slightly fore and aft. Read more here, at a Columbia site [columbia.edu] .

Quantitative phase microscopy is a relatively new technique that can generate phase images and phase-amplitude images. In practice, to obtain a quantitative phase image one collects an in-focus image and very slightly positively and negatively defocused images, and uses these data to estimate the differential with respect to the defocus of the image. These images (a through-focal series) can be easily obtained in our system with our z-motion nano-positioner. The resulting data can be solved to yield the phase distribution by Fourier-transform methods. Results are obtained by essentially solving an optical transport equation. Significantly, the phase that is obtained does not have to be unwrapped, as is required for interferometry.


I'd be lying if I told you I completely understand the quoted paragraph, specifically what "essentially solving an optical transport equation" refers to, but I'm sure some cursory googling will lead the curious to specifics, certainly more than googling on terms in the article summary would yield.

Re:Dense Camera Arrays for seeing through bushes (4, Insightful)

TiggertheMad (556308) | about 10 years ago | (#10337695)

What they are saying is this: They take three pictures. On a camera there is a point somewhere in front of the lens that is the 'focus point'. The distance it is away from the camera will vary by the lenses and their distance apart, but it is basically a fixed distance for any given setting. The first picture that point is set too far behind the subject, the second right on the subject (In focus) and the third in front of the subject. Because you know how the lenses were made, you can do some math and figure out how far away each element in the picture is by how the focus changes between the shots, and get a (quasi) 3d model of everything in the picture. The concept is simple enough, although having a proc that can do that in real time could be a challenge.

The real challenge is this: You are building a 3d model by interpolating data from a scene, but you are only doing it in one dimension. I bet a 3d picture would look like a scene from Doom1. You can create flat sprites and position them, but you can't capture any depth information without paralax interpolation either via lateral movement and reshooting or additional cameras.

Re:Dense Camera Arrays for seeing through bushes (3, Interesting)

ajna (151852) | about 10 years ago | (#10337707)

You've basically said what I wrote elsewhere in this article's comments [slashdot.org] . We both agree that it would have limited utility for real life applications (as in not in fields where confocal microscopy gets people hot and bothered) in as many words.

Incidentally the IATIA link itself held the answer to my above musings, about what the transport equation actually is. I still don't understand it, but it can be viewed by one and all at the bottom of this page: http://www.iatia.com.au/technology/insideQpi.asp [iatia.com.au]

Keith Nugent (4, Interesting)

metlin (258108) | about 10 years ago | (#10337445)

Hmm, Keith Nugent [iatia.com.au] is fairly well known in some niche areas of optics. If I remember right, his initial work on the use of x-rays and the like to compensate for normal visible hindrances were met with some opposition, but he is quite famous otherwise.

That was because, ironically, this was developed as a method to visualize biological stuff, and some felt that his methods would not quite be suitable for such a task. His ideas were to use various parameters such as phase, intensity and angle of vision to extract information which could be correlated and converge to recreate images with minimal amount of information, which later gained acceptance.

I guess he developed on that technique, and later on evolved to have the military to take notice. Interesting neverthless.

Imagine ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337449)

a Beowulf clust ... er, nevermind ;)

interesting but (1, Insightful)

abaybas (630833) | about 10 years ago | (#10337450)

So they are using the principle of parallax. It's like how we can hold our finger infront of our face and still get a complete picture; the parts that are blocked on one eye are completed by the other. Though with fog, it would seem to me that since there are so many particles for the light to go through, even if you had 3 cameras looking from different places, they would still get a foggy picture. It would be like trying to look through a forest.

Re:interesting but (2, Informative)

6169 (318124) | about 10 years ago | (#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:interesting but (1)

PitaBred (632671) | about 10 years ago | (#10337670)

...you think they'd be doing it if it didn't work? The military may waste money on a lot of things, but not terribly often, and reports normally aren't done on unworking devices.

O-kaaayy... (0)

Sensible Clod (771142) | about 10 years ago | (#10337453)

So, is this a good thing or a bad thing?
Of course, the answer is, It depends on what it's used for. What it's used for depends on them who use it. This raises the question, Who should be allowed to use it?

Re:O-kaaayy... (2, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 10 years ago | (#10337623)

Around these parts, it works the other way around... things are legal until they're illegal. Who shouldn't be allowed to use it?

Re:O-kaaayy... (1)

AceCaseOR (594637) | about 10 years ago | (#10337686)

Definatly news crews and anyone who's giving on-site coverage/footage for a fire. This thing could be a life-saver.

I live in Oregon, and one of our local news crews was one of the first to get the FLIR cameras when they were brand new for their News Choppers (IIRC the station was KATU). The camera even saved peoples lives during a fire in Portland.

I don't necessarily see how this camera can be a major privacy threat. I do see it being lifesaver.

Re:O-kaaayy... (1)

FashionNugget (728977) | about 10 years ago | (#10337702)

Easy: those who can afford it are allowed to use it. If news crews care enough about a story to shell out for it, they've got it. If your local council cares enough about saving your life your local fire truck gets one.

We don't need this (-1, Flamebait)

here4fun (813136) | about 10 years ago | (#10337455)

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.

It won't work but I bet it will cost a ton of money. LOL. I bet some CIA analyst will use it from a spy satelite to look in on a nudist beach.

All kidding aside, this is kinda sad. This kind of research could be much more useful for space exploration than for finding ways to kill more people. This professor seems bright, why not find something new instead of working for the military??

Re:We don't need this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337496)

Military has deep pockets. Don't forget the net came from the military, why can't other stuff?

Re:We don't need this (4, Insightful)

Darthmalt (775250) | about 10 years ago | (#10337510)

Probably because it's easier for him to get moner for his research from the military. Many things we use as consumers everyday were started by the military.

GPS, Radar, heck even the microwave (though that was more the British military.

Re:We don't need this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337522)

Because if you have the defense contract to manufacture the technology, you're going to make a lot of money.

Developing for military applications gives you a set of parameters and an environment that you don't see in other areas. As a result it can be interesting to develop for.

Re:We don't need this (5, Insightful)

rebelcool (247749) | about 10 years ago | (#10337583)

Who are you to say "we dont need this"? You can forsee all applications of a technology before its made? And you automatically assume just because the money is initially military its going to be used to "kill people"? What nonsense.

This would useful for finding people in a burning building full of smoke. Or imagine putting it onto a car as a warning system in heavy fog that you're approaching an obstacle too fast. Same with planes. Surely more creative people than I can dream up a dozen applications for this.

Here's a tip about research: The military has a ton of money, and they spend it on all kinds of things that have nothing to do with "killing people". As pointed out already, the internet was a defense project. So was GPS. So was radar. So was a million other extremely useful things.

"We dont need this" - we don't need you and your cluelessness.

Re:We don't need this (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 10 years ago | (#10337653)

And you automatically assume just because the money is initially military its going to be used to "kill people"?

Notice also that with technology like this, when they do kill people, they kill fewer people, because they know exactly where to put the bombs and can use smaller bombs that only blow up the target. Compare the average World War II carpet bombing campaign with a modern-day strike using a "smart bomb" or missle of some sort.

We don't need this-Doomed to reruns. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337740)

All correct however it's still sad that what brings out the best in people is also the worst. And in answer to "You can forsee all applications of a technology before its made? ". One doesn't have to be clarivoyant when it comes to humanity. Merely observant.

Re:We don't need this (4, Insightful)

whorfin (686885) | about 10 years ago | (#10337716)

Yeah, nothing that was ever funded by military research has ever come to any good for society.

Well, except for computers and the internet. Everything else was crap. And I guess those satellites that let us talk all over the world and get sports and softcore porn beamed into our house are pretty neat too, except for the lite beer ads. And did I mention the GPS I've got on my cell phone?

Yeah, military research is a total dead end.

Nope (0)

pHatidic (163975) | about 10 years ago | (#10337459)

This tech isn't new. It is the same as was used to make the movie 405 [405themovie.com] which is freely available for download online. In this short film they pointed a camera on top of a bridge overlooking the highway and took several frames and then spliced them all together so that they could have footage of the highway that looked like there were no cars on it. This is the same idea being used with these glasses, only in real time.

Re:Nope (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#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.

Re:Nope (1)

radio.cgt (582917) | about 10 years ago | (#10337759)

That's a form of exposure, erm 'hacking' i suppose (don't know what it's called really).

This uses a different method based on the phase of light, there's enough posts already explaining it better than I could, so i won't bother:)

Re:Nope (1)

shidarin'ou (762483) | about 10 years ago | (#10337766)

Err, thats compositioning, this is totally different.

Article is short on details (3, Interesting)

shoolz (752000) | about 10 years ago | (#10337462)

Much is left to the imagination in the article

I am imagining that since it not possible to "see" "through" an object, that these three images must be of various wavelengths (visible light, ultraviolet light, and infrared) and then are run through an interpolation process to get a probable image of what is behind the obstacle.

Am I out to lunch? Can anybody shed more light on how this works?

Re:Article is short on details (1)

Darthmalt (775250) | about 10 years ago | (#10337495)

I'm thinking it takes three pictures from 3 diff angles. each will have a slightly diff view of the "target"(whatever you want to take a picture of) you can combine the images and remove some of the smoke/fog particles.

Re:Article is short on details (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#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.

Hi-res TV stills (1, Interesting)

whereiswaldo (459052) | about 10 years ago | (#10337466)


I was recently thinking about a technique which might be used for creating high definition stills of television programs.

The principle goes like this: you can get a view of an entire room with only a slit to look through. All you need to do is move back and forth to get the extra details.

So with the TV stills, you let the camera pan around a bit on a subject and capture all of the detail for each distinct area of the picture (eyes, whatever) since each of the raster lines on the tv are like the slit through the door. The camera panning around is like moving back and forth.

So under the right conditions like I've described, all the detail you want is there, but only when you take all the frames into consideration.

Re:Hi-res TV stills (2, Interesting)

swb (14022) | about 10 years ago | (#10337523)

Doesn't changing angles on the subject (a result of moving the camera), cause you to collect not more but different data on the subject, resulting in a higher resolution image that's higher in angular/dimensional data, but not in 2D data?

It seems like you'd end up with a David Hockney-like image, not a higher resolution image.

Re:Hi-res TV stills (1)

whereiswaldo (459052) | about 10 years ago | (#10337666)

That sounds reasonable, but don't you think that could be accounted for in the final image?

Re:Hi-res TV stills (1)

swb (14022) | about 10 years ago | (#10337721)

If the object was a flat, 2-D surface you could probably correct for it relative to some start position. But a 3D object? You'd have to know its complete 3D geometry to do the perspective transformations.

If you had to scan the object with a laser to get 3D data on it, you might as well accept a lower resolution but 3-D image instead.

Okay, pervs, here's what you want (3, Informative)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 10 years ago | (#10337484)

Here's what you want, a camera that sees through clothes [wired.com] . Sheesh...

Smoke and Fog = Smog (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337486)

Doesn't NASA already have one of these installed on the Cassini spacecraft?

Yes, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337508)

what about smoke and mirrors?

I fought the law... (3, Interesting)

Rendition (816193) | about 10 years ago | (#10337514)

Hope they can't make this work for speed cameras...

Re:I fought the law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337673)

Well if you are going fast enough to trip a speed camara in dense fog you've got more serious problems than getting a fine!

MOD PARENT DOWN, he'll kill us all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337744)

MOD PARENT DOWN, he'll kill us all

vaporware (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 10 years ago | (#10337531)

Wake me when journalists have a camera that can see through the fog of war, where the first casualty is the truth.

Do hot chicks wear clothes made of fog? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337533)

No? Then I'm not interested. ;P

Fog of war... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337572)

... now I can stop feeling guilty for turning off fog of war in games!

Sounds cool, but... (-1, Redundant)

TiggertheMad (556308) | about 10 years ago | (#10337578)

Well seeing through Smoke, fog dust, amd such is nice and all, but when are they going to invent something that will REALLY benefit humanity?

You know, like a camera that sees through girl's clothing...

Er, I mean, like cure cancer!

Sounds cool, but...Fear Factor. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337638)

"You know, like a camera that sees through girl's clothing... "

You know what? Now I think I see why all you guys don't have dates. You're scaring them all away. See through clothing indeed.

Article text (in case of /.'ing) (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337598)

Lens to pierce fog of war

By Garry Barker
The Age Technology Editor
September 24, 2004

A Melbourne company rated a world leader in advanced phase imaging technology has 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.

Iatia Ltd, based in Box Hill, has commercialised technology developed at the University of Melbourne by a team of physicists led by Professor Keith Nugent that promises ultimately to let defence forces "see" stealth bombers and other targets invisible to conventional radar.

"The technology is still experimental, but we know it works," said Iatia chief executive Brian Powell. Further research and field trials done in conjunction with engineers at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation at Salisbury in South Australia will now be carried out to develop an operational camera capable of working over a range of about a kilometre.

Initially, Iatia had used Professor Nugent's discoveries in microscopes to detect things such as cracks in gas turbine blades and to study Natalie Portman's nipples and other human tissue samples.

"But then we thought, why not use it in cameras, or telescopes, and that excited the interest of the Defence Department," Mr Powell said.

"They saw it could be used by troops on the ground or from helicopters to see through trees and cloud."

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.

Iatia chairman Jim Short said the company's application for funding under the Government's Capability and Technology Demonstrator program had been supported by the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Navy.

They saw potential for the development of passive surveillance, allowing troops to distinguish between camouflaged targets and vegetation and to see otherwise hidden objects such as tanks and soldiers.

The technology, called Quantitative Phase Imaging also had commercial application in industry, science and medicine, Mr Short said.

Re:Article text (in case of /.'ing) (1, Funny)

martinX (672498) | about 10 years ago | (#10337700)

Ummm...

Initially, Iatia had used Professor Nugent's discoveries in microscopes to detect things such as cracks in gas turbine blades and to study Natalie Portman's nipples and other human tissue samples.

Already exists (4, Interesting)

leabre (304234) | about 10 years ago | (#10337627)

I was in the US Navy from 1994-1996 and the damage control teams already have a special camera (forget what it is called) that can see through dense smoke (the type you would expect from a jet fuel fire or amunition fire on a ship) and help you to see clearly through the smoke.

Wonder what makes the camera in this article so different from the technology the Navy already uses... I'm sure the current navy breed is much more advanced than it was 10 years ago.

Thanks,
Leabre

Parallax (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337629)

"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."

If it uses the concept of parallax, how can it possibly do this both using the same lense AND at the same time? Isn't parallax based on the concept of different images of overlapping fields of view? IR: two or more eyes/lenses or two or more images slightly timed apart if the object(s) in the foreground are moving?

If it's based on image analysis using different algorythms for three copies of the same original image, wouldn't it be liable to have errors? (Think of those optical illusions of inverted masks...) Or is the third one used to reduce/remove these errors?

Re:Parallax (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#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.

I am a bit fuzzy on where I have seen this... (1)

anubi (640541) | about 10 years ago | (#10337643)

But somewhere I remember where some entity was making high-res images from lots of low-res images by correlation and integrating the noise out.

Typically, you would feed live video into this, and it may integrate several hundred, maybe thousands of frames of incredibly obscure images, and return stills of very high resolution.

It was used by police detective units to analyze poor video files recorded by instore video recorders that saw a crime.

It looks like this may be useful for this kind of thing, as the DSP can be programmed to kill off the haze and just leave what comes through now and then as the fog particles drift in and out of the lines of sight.

Has anybody else seen this? And have any links?

my thoughts (5, Interesting)

Large Bogon Collider (815523) | about 10 years ago | (#10337646)

I'm not a 100% sure, but the technique involves phase shift. As light of a single frequency passes though an medium, its phase is altered and light propagation is delayed. If you can computationally filter out all out of phase shift information caused by fog, for example, you can "see" what the hidden object looked like. This process is quite CPU intensive. It seemed that about a grayscale SVGA sized image (0.41 mp) took 1.5 secs on a PIV 2.4GHz to calculate. This should improve with algorith tweaking and using FPGAs.

This may also have medical applications in terms of optical imaging - see through the patient (arms and legs only, probably). Shine a bright light at the patient. Capture the ealiest photos that emerge (the ones that had a direct path to the camera). Ignore slow photons (ones that were absorbed and release or bounced around). Voila, instant imaging without x-rays. IIRC, this was in development years ago.

It's being developed by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337656)

...OGC corporation.

I for one... (0)

xombo (628858) | about 10 years ago | (#10337658)

I for one welcome our all seeing overlords.

How am I going to hide from the government if I can't be discretely nestled behind dust and fog?

Re:I for one... (2, Funny)

hunterx11 (778171) | about 10 years ago | (#10337726)

Tin foil, of course.

gmail invites (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10337660)

Better solution (2, Interesting)

huge colin (528073) | about 10 years ago | (#10337699)

Just use an uncooled microbolometer-based infrared thermal imager. BAE Systems has been producing these for years. They're low-power, lightweight, and efficient.

When receiving this wavelength of IR, you can see through smoke, fog, some plastics (regardless of opacity to visible light), and independent of visible light levels. And seeing radiated heat is, of course, an obvious benefit. A fraction of a degree F is all that's needed to note a difference -- you can even see where things used to be because of the heat shadow they leave.

--Colin

Let's redesign the wheel! (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 10 years ago | (#10337713)

There already exist products that do this. Here [kollsman.com] is a camera that sees through fog natively.

Disclaimer: I work for the company that makes these.

Re:Let's redesign the wheel! (2, Interesting)

KD5YPT (714783) | about 10 years ago | (#10337773)

Actually is different, if you read the two article, you'll notice a major differences.

The one you stated is an infrared camera. Which means its only good at seeing objects that give off an appreciative amount of infrared radiation (in this case, runway lights, other planes, and etc).

The one stated in the main post is completely optical. It merely take three consecutive image and a computer compare the images and extract objects that are obscured by fog, dust, and such. Of course, this system would require that SOME visibility exist (in another word, no seeing through solid walls).

Interesting headline (1)

Pan T. Hose (707794) | about 10 years ago | (#10337776)

Am I the only one who has read "underway" as "uderwear"?
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