The FBI is working with two NASA scientists to solve crimes. Scientists Paul Meyer and David Hathaway have invented Video Image Stabilization and Registration (VISAR) software, using their experience analyzing satellite video from space. VISAR changes the dark, jittery images captured by security systems and video cameras in police cars into clear images that reveal clues about crimes. Using VISAR, the FBI can read blurry license plate numbers and identify felons on videos from security cameras.

So how did these two scientists get hooked up with the FBI? Meyer says, “At NASA, we routinely take satellite images of storm clouds and enhance them to see what is going on in the atmosphere. Looking for clues about what is happening in a storm is similar to being a detective and finding out what took place at a crime scene.” It started when they helped the Feds analyze video of the bombing that killed two people at the 1996 Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta. Hathaway and Meyer were able to clarify videotapes made by amateurs at night with handheld camcorders.

Hathaway says, “After analyzing crime video for detectives and seeing the horrible details of some of these crimes, it gives me great satisfaction that police can use NASA technology to put murderers behind bars.” He once helped enhance security camera videotape made during the kidnapping of a Minnesota teenager, helping police identify the abductor. “Her killer has since been tried and convicted,” says Hathaway. “The video was key evidence used in his capture.”

Another potential market for VISAR is camcorder users, who can use it to improve the quality of their homemade videos. “If you’ve ever used a video camera, you’ve probably hit the wrong end of the zoom button,” Hathaway says. “VISAR can be used to correct these mistakes afterward.”

For examples of what VISAR can do, click here.

Another crime-stopping technique, this time courtesy of the CIA, is remote viewing. Joe McMoneagle tells all about it.

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