Two images of a live human subject as seen through flames. When viewed in infrared or white light, the man is almost completely occluded (left). The new system reproduces the image behind the flames using holography, revealing a man wearing a t-shirt and glasses (right). (Credit: Optics Express)

 

Infrared Digital Holography Allows Firefighters to See Through Flames, Image Moving People

Feb. 26, 2013 — Firefighters put their lives on the line in some of the most dangerous conditions on Earth. One of their greatest challenges, however, is seeing through thick veils of smoke and walls of flame to find people in need of rescue. A team of Italian researchers has developed a new imaging technique that uses infrared (IR) digital holography to peer through chaotic conflagrations and capture potentially lifesaving and otherwise hidden details.

The team describes its breakthrough results and their applications in a paper published February 26 in the Optical Society’s (OSA) open-access journal Optics Express.

Firefighters can see through smoke using current IR camera technology. However, such instruments are blinded by the intense infrared radiation emitted by flames, which overwhelm the sensitive detectors and limit their use in the field. By employing a specialized lens-free technique, the researchers have created a system that is able to cope with the flood of radiation from an environment filled with flames as well as smoke.

Read more: Infrared digital holography allows firefighters to see through flames, image moving people — Science Daily.

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