NASA Selects Commercial & Government Inventions Of The Year
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
|March 26, 2003
Software technology, proven to be invaluable for law enforcement
investigations, and a mathematical method received NASA's Commercial
and Government Invention of the Year Awards.
The Video Image Stabilization and Registration System (VISAR) received
NASA's Commercial Invention of the Year. The basis for this innovative
technology was created by NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville,
Ala., employees, Dr. David Hathaway, a solar physicist, and Paul
Meyer, an atmospheric scientist, to aid their space-program research.
In response to a FBI request for assistance, this video enhancement
technology was developed into VISAR. It was first used in 1996 to
help the FBI analyze video of the bombing at the Olympic Summer
Games in Atlanta. Since then Hathaway and Meyer have worked on more
than a dozen criminal cases with police and the FBI.
VISAR works by turning dark, jittery images; captured by home video,
security systems and video cameras in police cars, into clearer,
stable images that reveal clues about crimes. It does what other
image stabilization processes cannot, correct for changes in orientation
and size. The system is also being used in the Space Shuttle Columbia
The winner of the NASA Government Invention of the Year is a mathematical
method called Computer Implemented Empirical Mode Decomposition
Method, also known as the Hilbert-Huang Transformation (HHT) Method.
Dr. Norden E. Huang, Director, Goddard Institute of Data Analysis
at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md, invented it.
The HHT Method has many diverse applications. The Method can be
applied in a variety of fields to study things such as: basic nonlinear
mechanics, climate cycles, solar neutrinos variations, earthquake
engineering, geophysical exploration, submarine design, structural
damage detection, satellite data analysis, nonlinear wave evolution,
turbulence flow, blood pressure variations and heart arrhythmia.
This Method is also used to analyze sea surface temperature data
collected by NASA satellites and instruments. The National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration uses Huang's method to analyze images
from some of its Earth orbiting spacecraft. It has proven successful
in connecting environmental changes to El Nino phenomena with weather
Huang also won NASA's Exceptional Space Act Award in 1999, for which
he was cited, "as having invented one of the most important
applied mathematical methods in NASA's history," for his invention
of the HHT Method.
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