CCTV sees through shadows

September 2002 CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring

Microprocessor systems enabling CCTV systems to pinpoint crimes with greater accuracy are being developed by Edinburgh University electrical engineers.

Devices designed at the university enable surveillance systems to spot people hiding in shadowed areas. The technology also improves camera vision in poor visibility and is expected to reduce the number of false alarms generated by CCTV systems.

The 'multispectral fusion' technology employed enables images from a range of sensors - visual, infrared, millimetre wave, radar or sonar - to be combined into a single camera image.

The fused picture displays more information of a better quality than any of the individual images alone. Infrared images, for example, can be combined with visual spectrum images to create a surveillance system which enables security guards to see clearly on one screen instead of many into the areas of light and shade.

The system being developed at Edinburgh is a small box which sits beside an existing CCTV camera and enables it to align images from different sensors. It has been devised by Dr Andrew Peacock, who said, "The novel method of multispectral image alignment offers significant benefits over existing approaches. We have proven the concept in the laboratory and we are about to demonstrate its operation in everyday situations.

"The real benefit of the technology is that it is easily installed and maintained and will greatly improve the effectiveness of existing CCTV systems. Because of the high level of investment in CCTV, the market is open to new technologies which can add value to an existing installation."

For more information: Dr Andrew Peacock, 0944 131 6505 570,

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