I’m always on the lookout for stories about the different ways image processing is put to work, but an article I saw a couple of months back in Vision Systems Design was one of the most interesting. It seems that a group of UFO researchers had come across some slides that supposedly showed an alien that had been found in the late 1940’s at the site of the Roswell, New Mexico “flying saucer” crash. In reality, what crashed was an Air Force surveillance balloon, but many still maintain that it was a visitor from outer space. And in reality, what the UFO researchers were hoping was proof of alien life was the mummy of a child.
The debunking was made possible by a sleuth who was able to clear up the image’s fuzziness. What was found were the labels “Mummified Body of Two Year Old Boy” and “San Francisco Museum.” While I guess it’s conceivable that an alien brought signage along in its spaceship, as it turned out, sometimes an extraterrestrial is just a down-to-earth human mummy.
The person who made this discovery did so with SmartDeblur, an application that uses the blind deconvolution technique. As SmartDeblur’s web site claims, their “program works extremely efficiently and doesn’t require any specific skills.” While using Smart Blur may not “require any specific skills”, you’ll want to have some math skills if you’re going to go through the algorithm, which is explained by Vladimir Yuzhikov (whose program SmartDeblur is) here. May be a bit more math that you’re up for on a nice summer’s day, but you may want to give it a look.
As far as I know, none of Critical Link’s imaging products are used for UFO debunking. We’re more likely to be involved in machine vision, traffic systems, surveillance, Raman spectroscopy, industrial inspection, scientific imaging, low light imaging, etc.
But you never know when a more unorthodox application may come up.