"Reconfigurable Device for Real-Time Compensation of Atmospheric Effects in Long-Range Imaging"

Fernando E. Ortiz, John R. Humphrey, Eric J. Kelmelis, and James P. Durbano
EM Photonics, Inc.


Telescopes and other optical systems are used to perform long-range, earth-based observations for applications such as spacecraft traffic and trajectory monitoring, military intelligence, range clearance, tactical aiming, and civilian surveillance.  Unfortunately, the quality of the images obtained using long-range optical systems is severely degraded by atmospheric disturbances in the path between the region under observation and the imaging system.  Digital signal processing algorithms, like the Bispectrum Speckle Imaging Method, can be used to compensate for these effects and results in image quality near the diffraction limit.  This, however, is a computationally intense process.  Software implementations at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories using high-end workstations require several seconds to enhance a single frame, a rate clearly unsuited for video applications.  To improve performance, and thereby enable real-time video processing, we have designed an FPGA-based hardware accelerator to compensate for atmospheric effects in long-range imaging.  We have based this solver on our Celerity™ card, which features a XC2V8000 FPGA and 16 GB of DDR memory.  In this paper, we present a hardware device capable of implementing the speckle algorithm at video rates on 720p60 (high definition) feeds.  This device will initially be used in conjunction with the existing tracking network to enhance space shuttle imagery during its launch stage.

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