Advanced Imaging


Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

20 Years and Going Strong

The November 1986 issue of Advanced Imaging featured an article on the Controlled Impact Demonstration conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration in 1984. The demonstration involved the controlled crash of a Boeing 720 airliner to determine if a special fuel additive could reduce explosion and fire. The test was monitored by 129 cameras - motion picture, video, infrared and still - operated from 21 locations. Cameras were used to fly the aircraft into the crash, and monitor the results from both inside the cabin and outside. Although the test was a failure, the imaging objectives were met with full success.
Imaging in cosmetic surgery was first covered in July/August 1988 as a method to simulate the results of a procedure. The PreView Dental Imaging System from McGhan InstruMed Corporation came in at an affordable $7,000, which was far less than the $180,000 a comparable system cost just a few years previously. A similar system was available for plastic surgery.
Newly commercialized liquid crystal displays, such as this SOFTPLOT from Greyhawk Systems, were covered in the May 1989 issue. The article noted that the technology produced images that were both much larger and higher resolution than those produced by a conventional CRT.
The world’s first, full-body volume rendering (from Johns Hopkins Medical Institution) was featured on the June 1989 cover. It was captured with a Siemens CT scanner then rendered on a Pixar system.
Advanced Imaging took a look at helmet-mounted displays in November/December 1989. Size, form factor and performance have come a long way since this CAE fiber-optic display was highlighted. The display was used for flight simulation by West German Luftwaffe pilots.
The use of IR imaging for PCB testing was discussed in April 1990. Illustrated here is a close up of a PCB 0.005" Bond Pad (taken with a 0.001mm lens) using Hughes technology.
The dramatic cover of the June 1990 issue featured a hand grenade in the process of exploding, as captured at 2/3 million FPS at the Navy Weapons Center with a Cordin rotating mirror film camera.
The use of vision technology by agricultural engineers at Oklahoma State University to grade seedlings was covered in November 1990. The seedlings would be used by forest-product companies to replant harvested trees.
The power of image processing was illustrated in the March 1991 issue, when the initial flaw in the Hubble telescope was partially overcome through software until a hardware solution could later be installed. These NASA images show the significant improvement that resulted.
April 1991 saw coverage of imaging as used in the first Gulf War. In addition to weapons-specific applications, this NOAA image of the Persian Gulf showed thick smoke plumes and the oil slick triggered by Saddam Hussein's "scorched earth" policy.
The August 1993 issue covered the Magellan mission to Venus, where synthetic aperture radar was used to image the surface of the planet with an azimuth resolution of 120m and a range resolution of 120-300m.
Digital motion capture was covered in July 1994, with this image illustrating MIT Media Lab work on the subject.
A true 3D motion capture system from Lawrence Livermore eliminated reflective "knee pad" motion tracking with a fully camera based solution. It involved a pair of CCD cameras separated by a small baseline to provide a different perspective – all supported by the appropriate frame grabber and storage.
The rapid rise of CMOS imagers as a competitor to CCD was discussed in October 1995.
In January 1996, this six-inch, 7000 x 9000 CCD from Phillips Imaging Technology (a 66 million pixel sensor) was the largest single integrated circuit in the world.
The April 1996 issue of Advanced Imaging featured an article on the time for color machine vision finally arriving. A new generation of PC-level hardware and software delivered the bang for the buck, and certain applications made color a "must have." In this image, color imaging technology from Proteus Applied Technology sorts plastic containers by color.
In 1997, the role imaging played in helping rediscover the Jamestown colony site was discussed. A combination of digital photography, photo CD, Photoshop, GIS, industrial X-ray, multimedia database and this Landsat image helped locate the site, and analyze and catalog the artifacts that were found.
When the Getty Museum in Los Angeles decided to develop an exhibit on one of Rome’s last "good" emperors, Trajan, it went the virtual route. As covered in 1998, an urban simulation model was made by the U.C.L.A. School of Architecture's Urban Simulation Lab that provided for a street level walkthrough. Although not interactive, it gave the impression of actually being there.
Tradition can die hard, and in March 1998 Advanced Imaging described how IR equipment (top photo), from Duncan Technologies, finally replaced a wet straw broom in detecting hydrogen fires at NASA. Hydrogen burns so clean that it tends to be both very hot and invisible. The traditional approach was to walk around hazard areas waving a wet broom while waiting for it to busts into flame (as shown in the second photo).
In 2000 ,Advanced Imaging featured the Artificial Silicon Retina, an implant that promised to return sight to the vision impaired. The microchip ASR, developed by Dr. Alan Chow, an ophthalmologist and his brother Vincent, an electrical engineer (with plenty of assistance from others), is approximately 2 mm in diameter, 0.025 mm thick and contained an array of 3,500 microphotodiodes. Clinical trials were just beginning at the time of the article, and to date the results for this technology have been encouraging. The ASR on a penny (left), and implanted in a retina (right).
The tragic events of 9/11 brought into focus the use of IR imaging in search and rescue operations. The November 2001 issue covered this in detail, with the above photos (courtesy of EarthData) showing the World Trade Center site with the associated hot spots as rescue and recovery efforts were underway.
As the new mellinium began, over 70 percent of all radiological exams were still film based. However, by 2001 digital X-ray technology was undergoing a rapid expansion, with nearly 20 new companies having entered the field since 1998.
In 2001, Astronaut C. Michael Foale used virtual reality hardware to prepare for a planned shuttle maintenance mission on the Hubble Telescope. Imaging has long played a role with Hubble, from its inception to critical repairs and ongoing maintenance.
Organic light-emitting devices had gained a lot of attention since their introduction in 1997, and by 2003 the technology was blossoming. Universal Display Corporation’s flexible (FOLED) prototype provided a glimpse of how much farther the technology could grow.
This image came from a 2004 article on biomedical science, with a focus on fluoroscopy. Here is a five-color multiplexing of fixed human epithelial cells using Qdot conjugates from Quantum Dot Corporation. This was the first time a cell was successfully stained in five colors.
A 2004 article showed how vision was being applied to secure the U.S. currency. Several automated vision systems inspect federal banknotes to ensure precision printing and anti-counterfeiting.
The DARPA challenge, covered in 2005, highlighted the use of machine vision technology for robotic navigation. Three vehicles self-navigated a 131.2 mile course, with speeds topping 35 mph. For contrast, an article from 1987 highlighted a similar effort where the vehicle was limited to a straight, high-contrast road and a speed of 1-meter per 10 seconds.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have been a primary and extremely effective platform for military imaging technologies since the first Gulf War. The Global Hawk represents a state-of-the-art actively deployed platform.

By Keith Reid

It was a very notable year, 1986. Chernobyl cast its radioactive pall over the Soviet Union, while Mikhail Gorbachev brought the shining light of change. Haley’s comet made one of its rare visits, and the Mir space station added its own new light to the night skies. Ferdinan Marcos fled the Philippines with Imelda and all her shoes. And, with somewhat less fanfare, Advanced Imaging hit the presses as a quarterly supplement to a long-established industrial photography magazine.

Electronic imaging was not necessarily new at the time – television had been around for nearly 50 years and other forms of electronic imaging had been in place for many years. However, momentum was building in these relatively new applications of imaging technology for industry, business, medicine, science and the military and they demanded focused coverage.

The initial focus at Advanced Imaging was to be less of a technical journal and more of a general information source highlighting the technologies, applications and potential cross market opportunities. Some of the main areas covered during that first year included: high-speed video and film; digitized slidemaking; corporate electronic publishing; resolution issues for TV versus film; interactive video discs; scientific, industrial imaging, commercial imaging, still imaging, document imaging, video imaging; robotics machine vision; plasma displays; the arrival of CD-ROM and CD-I; and erasable optical media as a competitor to magnetic storage.

The following year saw the number of supplements increase from three to five, and Advanced Imaging became an independent magazine in 1988. By then, circulation had increased from 16,000 to nearly 30,000, which at the time was the largest group of genuine electronic imaging professionals ever identified.

Editorially, the magazine has always provided a mix of technology-specific coverage, applications and application markets and industry news. The mix has shifted gently from time to time, with more focus on applications during some years and more focus on the specific technologies during others. Some markets were heavily covered for periods of time, only to fall by the wayside as needs and solutions changed and the world moved on to different imaging challenges and opportunities. Today, from an imaging hardware standpoint, there is a solid focus at Advanced Imaging on the eight core imaging technologies (illumination, optics, sensor and backplane, data path, processing, storage, display and software). And yet, it’s equally critical to focus on how these technologies are applied and what their capabilities bring to a range of needs that can cross many industries.

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