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Software Enhances Grainy Security Videos

Photonics Spectra
Apr 1999
The images are familiar: a burglar caught in the act by a convenience store's security camera. As useful as these security tapes are, they are often too grainy to erase doubts about a suspect's identity.
A software package developed by the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn., may enable local and federal law enforcement officials to enhance low-resolution videotapes to more accurately identify a perpetrator. The software merges multiple frames of video, and uses algorithms to reduce noise and to recover more pixels, increasing resolution and fidelity. It differs from some commercial products that primarily merge various frames into one continuous frame.
The clearer images from a security video have already helped convict one suspect for the murder of a convenience store clerk. The researchers say the software should be ready for the Secret Service to test by July.


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