July 15, 2003 / 10:35 p.m. ET
effort to identify a suspect in West Virginia's
department-store assault case is getting an assist from one of the space
agency's spin-offs. NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., is using a
Retinex to enhance images from a grainy surveillance tape that shows the
“We are enhancing it as we speak,” Langley spokeswoman Marny Skora said
this evening. “It looked today as if we had a pretty good chance of providing
Once the proper video frames are selected, it takes only an hour or two
to sharpen up the images, Skora said.
The software was originally developed for satellite remote-sensing
applications, then commercially licensed to
Imaging for use in enhancing digital snapshots.
Retinex has come into play in past probes, ranging from criminal cases to
Columbia investigation. And there's yet another image-enhancement technology
called VISAR, developed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, that has been of
use to the FBI and other sleuths.