The team responsible for NASA software-technology proven
to be invaluable for law enforcement and other down-to-Earth
applications has been selected to receive the prestigious
Federal Lab Consortium Excellence in Technology Transfer

To aid their space-program research, two NASA scientists
invented the Video Image Stabilization and Registration
system, known as VISAR. However, this video enhancement
technology soon found broader applications.

The Federal Lab Consortium award, to be presented May 8, is
the latest in a number of awards recognizing the far-reaching
capabilities of VISAR.

The system works by making minute details in poor-quality
video, such as car license plates, readable. The innovative
technology was created by Dr. David Hathaway, a solar
physicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville,
Ala., and Paul Meyer, an atmospheric scientist, at the
National Space Science and Technology Center also in
Huntsville. Sammy Nabors, Commercial Technology lead at
Marshall, also will be recognized for his work as
commercialization representative for VISAR.

VISAR was chosen for the honor from dozens of entries,
including submissions from the U.S. Department of Defense,
Department of Energy and Department of Health and Human
Services. Among other requirements, the innovations had to
have potential for overwhelming positive impact on society,
and must have been commercialized into the private sector.

The award is coveted because a panel of experts from
industry, state and local government, academia and other
Federal Lab Consortium members judge entries.

The consortium promotes cooperation between government and
private laboratories 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 Summer
Olympic Games in Atlanta. Hathaway and Meyer successfully
clarified nighttime videotapes made with handheld camcorders,
revealing important details about the bomb and the bomber.

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

Since their first case with the FBI, Hathaway and Meyer have
worked to refine their software. It has gained interest in
the commercial sector because it can remove “snow” from
video, correct zoom and camera jitter, as well as produce
clearer images of moving objects by smoothing jagged edges
and enhance still images.

Marshall Space Flight Center has licensed VISAR for use in
electronics and is currently offering the technology for
license to software producers for home computer applications.
VISAR is now widely used by public safety agencies across the
United States. It also shows promising use for military and
medical applications.

More information on VISAR is available on the following Web

Information on other NASA technologies available for industry
use and commercialization can be accessed on the Internet at: