Retinex Image Processing--Publications--SPIE 5403, Orlando, Florida Conference

Enhanced images for checked and carry-on baggage and cargo screening

Glenn A. Woodell, Zia-ur Rahman, Daniel J. Jobson, Glenn Hines


The current X-ray systems used by airport security personnel for the detection of contraband, and objects such as knives and guns that can impact the security of a flight, have limited effect because of the limited display quality of the X-ray images. Since the displayed images do not possess optimal contrast and sharpness, it is possible for the security personnel to miss potentially hazardous objects. This problem is also common to other disciplines such as medical Xrays, and can be mitigated, to a large extent, by the use of state-of-the-art image processing techniques to enhance the contrast and sharpness of the displayed image. The NASA Langley Research Centers Visual Information Processing Group has developed an image enhancement technology that has direct applications to this problem of inadequate display quality. Airport security X-ray imaging systems would benefit considerably by using this novel technology, making the task of the personnel who have to interpret the X-ray images considerably easier, faster, and more reliable. This improvement would translate into more accurate screening as well as minimizing the screening time delays to airline passengers. This technology, Retinex, has been optimized for consumer applications but has been applied to medical X-rays on a very preliminary basis. The resultant technology could be incorporated into a new breed of commercial x-ray imaging systems which would be transparent to the screener yet allow them to see subtle detail much more easily, reducing the amount of time needed for screening while greatly increasing the effectiveness of contraband detection and thus public safety.

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