Video stills enhanced by computer

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

A TEAM of five computer engineers at IBM's scientific centre at Winchester helped Merseyside Police to enhance the video pictures taken in Bootle, using the latest developments in image analysis.

There were two problems with improving the quality of the pictures. The team's first goal was to eliminate the electronic interference that caused blurring. The second was to enhance the details in the pictures to give a face, for instance, its recognisable qualities.

David Bowdler, manager of the centre, said the team captured still frames from the video so they could be analysed by different specialists working on a network of powerful computers.

Successive video frames were compared to sort out the signals generated by genuine images from those caused by electronic interference, or 'noise'. The engineers then attempted to wipe out the 'noise', allowing them to proceed with enhancement.