For release: 05/06/02
Release #: 02-107
NASA's Marshall Center video enhancement innovation wins major technology award
Three Marshall Center team members have won the Federal Lab Consortium's Excellence in Technology Transfer Award for a system that's used as a law enforcement tool to digitally enhance video. The Video Image Stabilization and Registration, or VISAR, system was cited for making minute details in poor quality video readable. VISAR was first used in the Atlanta bombing investigation. The award will be presented Wednesday in Little Rock, Ark.
Three members of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center team in Huntsville, Ala., have won the Federal Lab Consortium’s Excellence in Technology Transfer Award for a computer-based system that is becoming a widely used law enforcement tool to digitally enhance video.
It is the latest in a number of awards recognizing the far-reaching capabilities of VISAR, short for Video Image Stabilization and Registration. VISAR is a system that can make minute details in poor quality video, such as car license plates, readable. The innovative technology was created by Dr. David Hathaway, a solar physicist, and Paul Meyer, an atmospheric scientist, at the National Space Science and Technology Center in Huntsville. The organization is a partnership of the Marshall Center, Alabama universities and other federal agencies. Sammy Nabors, Commercial Technology Lead at the center, also will be recognized for his work as commercialization representative for VISAR.
Hathaway, Meyer and Nabors will receive the award May 8, at the consortium’s annual meeting in Little Rock, Ark.
VISAR was chosen for the honor from dozens of entries, including submissions from the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Energy and the Department of Health and Human Services. Among other requirements, the innovations submitted were required to have potential for overwhelming positive impact on society, and must have been commercialized into the private sector. The award is coveted because judging of entries is done by a panel of experts from industry, state and local government, academia and other Federal Lab Consortium members. The consortium promotes cooperation between government and private labs to exchange ideas and enhance the nation’s economic competitiveness.
The scientists’ foray into the world of forensics began when they helped the FBI analyze video of the bombing that killed two people and injured hundreds more at the 1996 Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta. Hathaway and Meyer successfully clarified nighttime videotapes made with handheld camcorders, revealing important details about the bomb and the explosion.
Why did the FBI come to NASA for help?
As scientists, Hathaway and Meyer had developed expertise and equipment for enhancing images of the Sun and Earth’s atmosphere. They used this experience and worked together to invent the VISAR technology.
Since their first case with the FBI, Hathaway and Meyer have worked over the years to refine the VISAR technology, and that technology has been transferred to companies, like Huntsville’s Intergraph Corp., and BARCO Inc. Display Systems of Duluth, Ga., that produce video enhancement systems for law enforcement, the military and even home computers.
Co-inventor Hathaway earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He earned master’s and doctorate degrees at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Hathaway has been a Marshall Center employee since 1984.
Meyer earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Mo. He earned a second master’s from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Originally from the St. Louis area, Meyer joined the Marshall Center 1985.
Nabors, who grew up in Montevallo, Ala., earned a bachelor’s from the University of Alabama. He has been a Marshall Center employee since 1985.
The Marshall Center is a key leader for NASA’s development of space transportation and propulsion systems and advanced large optics manufacturing technology, as well as microgravity research -- scientific investigations in the unique low-gravity environment aboard the International Space Station and other spacecraft.
The Center’s primary management responsibilities include Space Shuttle propulsion systems; the Space Launch Initiative, a program designed to develop advanced space transportation systems; the Chandra X-ray Observatory and future large-scale space optics systems; space science and Earth science; and all science operations aboard the International Space Station.
For more information or to schedule and interview, please contact Jerry Berg at the Marshall Media Relations Department at (256) 534-0034, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .