Thursday 17 March 2011

Thermal Street View from MIT

The aim may be to provide a rapid energy audit of buildings but MIT have a thermal imaging system that is interesting for purely visual reasons.

The full story is in this news piece on their web site, complete with video.

Here's what caught my eye ...
The new process begins by photographing buildings with a system the team developed to get high-resolution, long wave infrared images using an inexpensive, low-resolution camera. Normally, the cost of high-resolution far-infrared cameras is prohibitive for such widespread use — such cameras can cost $40,000 each. As a substitute, the team developed a novel patent-pending technology called “Kinetic Super Resolution” that uses a computer to combine many different images taken with an inexpensive low-resolution IR camera (costing less than $1,000), that produces a high-resolution mosaic image.
Note that in this context 'high resolution' would be 640 by 480 pixels resolution for $40K. In this case the MIT system's Kinetic Super Resolution improves image resolution by using moving (presumably this means scanning) images. I would imagine that this is trading temporal resolution for spatial resolution by looking at how successive pixels differ when these pixels are displaced by less than pixel/image resolution. A patent is pending.