Wednesday, September 16, 2009

FPGA-embedded algorithms compensate for atmospheric distortion

Project: Enhanced Long-Range Imaging

Problem: Long-range imaging is a critical component to many NASA applications including range surveillance, launch tracking, and astronomical observation. However, significant degradation occurs when imaging through the Earth’s atmosphere. The subsequent effects of poor image quality range from inconvenient to dangerous depending on the application.

Solution: EM Photonics is developing an embedded system based on field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technology capable of enhancing long-range images and videos by compensating for atmosphere induced distortions. This solver processes incoming video streams in real-time for a variety of formats, including the high-definition version used by NASA. The resulting device is light-weight and low-power and can be integrated with current video collection, viewing, and recording equipment. It can be used to process data 1) as it is collected (in real-time) or 2) from previously recorded imagery and deployed with camera systems or 3) in data centers depending on the application. Additionally, since this processing unit is built on FPGA technology, it can easily be extended to perform a variety of other tasks such as compression, encryption, or further processing.

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