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Last Updated: Friday, 8 August, 2003, 18:46 GMT 19:46 UK
Camera 'sees through fog'
Normal picture taken through haze, with the Dmist effect on the right
Dmist removes light reflected from water particles
Scientists in Manchester have invented a video camera that can "see" through fog.

The Dmist technology can also be used to provide clear pictures taken through heavy rain and haze and can also be used underwater.

Researchers at UMIST university believe it could soon be commonplace at airports, motorways or TV outside broadcasts and could improve security surveillance.

They have launched a start-up company, called Dmist Technologies, to exploit their work and are currently planning further trials.

Currently, even the most expensive cameras cannot "see" through fog.

The problem on foggy days is not landing planes, but keeping track of their movements on the ground
Professor Nigel Allinson, UMIST
However, the scientists say that when the images are run through the DMIST technology it becomes much clearer.

The device works by taking out the light scattered by water particles so the picture can be recovered in colour, as if it were being shot on a clear day.

Professor Nigel Allinson, from UMIST, said it had potential for airports - where fog can shut down operations, costing thousands of pounds in delays.

He said: "The problem on foggy days is not landing planes, but keeping track of their movements on the ground.

Simple to use

"With this technology they will be able to follow planes around the airport even in very dense fog."

DMIST can also be used for live sport and is also being investigated by police and CCTV companies for security uses, according to UMIST.

Dr John Oakley, who helps runs the research team, said: "The unit adapts automatically to changing weather conditions and needs no manual intervention."

The system is said to be simple to use and can be plugged straight into a normal video camera.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Colin Sykes
"The team has been given a government grant to trial the system throughout the country"



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