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Engineering professor develops enhanced X-ray technology

Raghuveer Rao

One tool for a more vigilant nation is being developed by Raghuveer Rao, Gleason professor of electrical engineering. Rao is working on state-of-the-art image-enhancement technology that benefits counter-terrorism, border patrol, law enforcement and medicine.

"We are poised to see image capture, enhancement and automatic-recognition technologies become indispensable tools in crime prevention and other areas in coming years," Rao asserts.

Software being developed by Rao filters out unwanted information from X-ray, radar and infrared images, enhancing desired detail in resulting high-resolution images. Using backscatter and transmission X-ray equipment to sharpen images, police and airport security officers can better see concealed weapons; border-patrol agents may discover people hiding in the trunks of cars; and, using through-the-wall radar surveillance in hostage situations, SWAT teams will be able to detect movement and even breathing.

A high-resolution X-ray image sharpened using technology developed at RIT.

In controlled environments, such as courthouses and airports, the new technology will supplement existing de

vices such as metal detectors. In uncontrolled situations such as crowds, the technology will provide information-gathering capability well beyond that of the unaided human eye.

Rao's project was listed among "25 Ways to Fight Terrorism" in the February issue of Prism, the magazine of the American Society for Engineering Education. The technology also has important potential applications in medicine. For instance, the software could improve tumor detection.

Testing in working situations is being conducted and Rao says project sponsors have received numerous inquiries in the aftermath of Sept. 11. Funding came from the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Air Force Research Lab. Private support came from American Science and Engineering Inc., Massachusetts, and Pixel Physics Inc. of Rochester. Other partners include Analysis and Simulation Inc., ITT Industries Inc. and Stiefvater Consultants Inc.