The notion, proposed by the University of the West of England, will resultantly now be developed to prototype level.
Technology Can Enhance Unclear Details, Compare Threats
The device picks up on and enhances unclear details by expanding their 3-dimensional profile. Additionally, it is capable of creating an automatic comparison of people or objects deemed to be threatening.
With Dr Melvyn Smith at its spearhead, the team from UWE put forward the plans as an entry into the Competition of Ideas scheme run by the MoD.
Dr Smith described, in further detail, the principals of the device:
"A soldier equipped with a portable device or goggles using this technology could detect and enhance indistinct or concealed objects by amplifying their 3-D shape attributes; and the equipment could automatically compare and recognise threatening objects or people based on known 3D shape signatures", he said in a statement that appeared on the university's website.
System Could See Beyond Camouflage, Detect Hidden Weapons
He continued: "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. Photometric stereo produces a composite image using light from at least three sources linked to a computer to derive detailed information about an object's surface. 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."
Overall, 467 entries were received by the ministry, of which over 50 per cent emanated from the corporate and scholastic worlds.
Armed forces International has a keen interest in this project, given its apparent potential both on the battlefield and possibly also in the field of counter-terrorism.
Along with projects such as the stealth warship and the invisible tank, this proposition represents, on paper, one of the most fascinating new military technology developments of the moment.