RFEL to launch Rapid Product Development System for its HALO video processing technology at CTx 2014
"The HALO RPDS 1.0 provides customers with a quick and easy means of evaluating the effectiveness of RFEL's world-class, video enhancement technology," explained Alex Kuhrt, RFEL's CEO. "It is a plug and play platform that enables customers to input video, try out our various video processing algorithms and immediately see the quality of the video improvement on a monitor. Customers can then select which of the various HALO form factors is most suitable for their project. This gives a really fast path to market."
HALO is designed to be the heart of a security camera environment. In addition to real-time, world class, high definition video enhancement, HALO can also handle the camera control interface for Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ) making it an all-in-one solution for CCTV control and image processing. HALO delivers even in the most challenging of visual environments by using use of enhancement suite of state-of-the-art video processing solutions including digital stabilisation, adaptive contrast enhancement and multi-band fusion. HALO's modular, flexible design makes it ideal for retrofitting/upgrading existing infrastructure, as well as for providing a complete, innovative solution for new designs.
"Image-based surveillance is a critical capability for counter terrorism and security," added Alex Kuhrt. "But, to be of use, the images must be of good quality and available in real-time for immediate threat response. HALO provides defense grade, high definition video enhancement in real-time and on a low power budget. Importantly, processed images are ready for machine interpretation to help cope with the rapidly growing volume of video data that needs to be monitored."
HALO is available in a variety of form factors to suit different applications. They enhance, fuse and stabilise video images for security applications such as fixed installation covert CCTV monitoring and surveillance, unmanned aerial vehicles and multi-band TV/IR imaging.
HALO solves the ballooning image processing problem
High Definition and Standard Definition video are critical for contemporary intelligence, providing long-range weapons targeting, UAV based surveillance, vehicle driving aids, and monitoring of unauthorised incursions into restricted areas. A downside of the rapid growth in the amount of available high-resolution video surveillance data over the past decade is that nobody can analyse or even watch the vast quantity of videos recorded and transmitted. By 2015, some 100,000 personnel are expected to be required to analyse all of the video that the US military collects, which equates to a third of the active Air Force.
HALO is specifically designed to solve this problem at the root - at the sensor payload, so that the available communications' bandwidth of the platform can be used to best effect. This is a new segment in that everybody has the cameras today, but very few solutions exist to deal with the information flow coming from them.
HALO enables video analytics directly at the source. Its real-time video processing blocks condition the incoming stream and rectify many of the common shortfalls of existing video systems, including poor raw sensor imagery under very challenging lighting or atmospheric conditions. For example, a camera mounted on a moving vehicle, aircraft or even on the top of a pole will suffer from shake and vibration that makes it challenging for machine automated video processing and very tiring for a human operator to watch limiting its use for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR).
HALO real-time and low-power image processing solutions
RFEL has created a solution to these challenges that delivers powerful, real time, video processing -- even when operating in the most demanding of visual environments - and yet is compact and uses very little power. HALO products enable high performance and smart intelligent video processing and analytics right at the source and remove the requirement of power-hungry, central processing in vehicles, UAVs or other sensor-carriers.
Available in three standard form factors, the core image conditioning features of HALO provide image enhancement, while also significantly reducing the data load on the network. Furthermore, the HALO™ platform readily supports the integration of client firmware and software to achieve a strongly integrated and maximally efficient solution.
HALO™ is available as:
- The ruggedly-housed sub-system, that realises the HALO™ processing solution in a small form factor (137mm x 105mm x 80mm). It is suitable for qualification to military environmental standards and offers direct connections to standard video interfaces and host control interfaces. The connectors are MIL-DTL-38999 III series as standard, but customer specified connector technologies can optionally be incorporated, including commercial or industrial standards.
- The PCI Express-based, XMC form factor board to integrate in system electronic compartments, which offers direct connections to standard video interfaces in addition to high throughput host control interfaces. It can be customised to specified interface requirements, and is available in a variety of ruggedness levels. It is suitable for use in any high performance video system, and can offer a road map to very high performance capability, or as a turn-key obsolescence management or retro-fit solution.
- The tiny (90mmx75mm) System-on-Module board, equipped with an all-digital high-density connector to implement directly into sensor housings. This is a mezzanine (or 'daughterboard') small processor board which offers circuit-level connections to the HALO processing system's internal digital video and host control interfaces. It requires a host carrier board to provide external video interfacing, e.g. video decode or other adaptor chip-sets. It can be customised to customer specific connector requirements. It brings the power of the HALO solution to products with private or very constrained form-factors and external interfaces. It can also accelerate the adoption of RFEL image processing IP to existing product designs by offering a plug-in solution.
IQFabric and HALO open development environment
User designs, in FPGA and/or software domains, can be integrated into the system with ease. FPGA video data frameworks, using AXI based interfacing and documented APIs and drivers, along with a fast integration workflow, make accessing the power of HALO a quick and easy proposition for developers wishing to incorporate their own IP. Since Linux is a key enabling technology of IQFabric, product developers can also take advantage of the Linux eco-system of applications, network enabled capabilities, security and ruggedness that this widely used operating system provides.
All HALO products have a range of built-in IP-blocks: video input switch, test pattern generator, video output switch, software frame grab, digital zoom and digital overlay.
Additional video processing IP-blocks that can be easily added to HALO products are:
- Intelligent fusion of multi-modal imagery, such as from daylight and IR cameras.
- Image stabilisation, even when the platform is subject to severe vibration, and when the imagery is sparse in features or of low contrast.
- Contrast enhancement to maintain high performance operation in marginal lighting conditions for both visible and IR wavebands.
- Noise reduction for optimising operation in low ambient light and for ensuring robust image fusion.
- Lens distortion correction.
- Support for compression standards.
RFEL Ltd is a UK-based innovative electronic systems designer, providing real-time high specification signal, image and video processing products, FPGA solutions and design services to defence, security, communications and instrumentation markets.