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Last Updated: Friday, 11 January 2008, 11:55 GMT
Device 'sees through' camouflage
Demonstration of the technique using a model aircraft
The device can "see through" camouflage
An idea for a portable device which troops can carry in war zones to "see through" camouflage has won cash from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The idea, put forward by the University of the West of England (UWE), will now be developed into a prototype.

It detects and enhances indistinct or concealed objects by amplifying their 3D shape.

The equipment can also automatically compare and recognise threatening objects or people.

UWE's team of machine vision experts, led by Dr Melvyn Smith, submitted the plans under the MoD's Competition of Ideas scheme.

They will receive about 120,000 for one year's work.

"The system, based on our expertise in photometric stereo techniques, reveals and enhances subtle shapes and surface details that may not be apparent or are deliberately concealed," said Dr Smith.

"For example, it could 'see through' camouflage or the pattern of a scarf used to cover the face, or enhance bulges in clothing caused by concealed weapons."

The MoD received 467 entries for its competition of ideas, more than half of which came from universities and small or medium enterprises.

In all, these projects represent an investment of about 11m into new ideas to enhance the UK's defence technology strategy.



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