NIHS Success Stories

High speed GigE camera used in Realtime 3-D Structured Light System

Date:  October 9, 2009

The 3-D Imaging Lab at the University of Kentucky’s Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments has extensive experience in the area of 3-D and is credited with developing 3-D systems in the fields of machine vision, structured

Touchless 3-D Fingerprinting A new system offers better speed and accuracy

Date:  October 6, 2009

A new non-contact, 3-D fingerprinting system could make spotting the bad guys faster and easier, whether it's at the border or the police precinct. By projecting patterns of light onto a finger and analyzing the image, researchers from the University of Kentucky are able to create a more accurate print than those made with ink or sensor plates. The researchers say the system is more efficient than traditional fingerprinting and significantly reduces the number of incorrect matches. 

3-D Print Scanner Has Dozens of Uses

Date:  August 27, 2009

It looks like the topography of a plowed field, with ridges of dug-out soil and an occasional clod resting on the crest of a furrow.

It's a fingerprint — revealed in extraordinary detail, clearly defined on an image that can be manipulated to show characteristics that would remove any doubt about a subject's identity.

In Larry Hassebrook's University of Kentucky College of Engineering lab, cameras and projectors are arrayed in ways that obtain three-dimensional images of fingerprints, faces, just about anything -- and to capture these images quickly.

"The fingerprints are not distorted by flattening.  We're actually gathering the fingerprints' topography," says Hassebrook, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and a researcher at UK's Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments.

Hassebrook and his team — UK staff engineer Walter Lundby and graduate student Eli Crane — are in the final stages of developing several prototypes of their system of rapid 3-D scanning.

Their goal is to use Hassebrook's approach — which relies primarily on software he has developed, rather than on expensive hardware — to make low-cost 3-D scanning equipment.

And what began as a project funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is emerging as a multi-dimensional tool that can serve myriad purposes.

"The automobile industry can use this for reverse engineering, quality inspection and other purposes.  It can be used for special effects in movies and gaming.  It can be used in biomedicine, to help make prosthetic limbs or in reconstructive surgery," says Hassebrook.

This does not include the law-enforcement uses.

Already, a Dallas, Texas, firm, FlashScan3D LLC, has licensed the technology for biometrics.  Company CEO Mike Troy says FlashScan3D is 18 months away from production.

Another of the scanner's uses is going to be explored over a three-week period that begins Friday, June 26.  Hassebrook's graduate student, Crane, will take a handheld prototype to the jungles of Honduras.

There, Crane will work with Transylvania University archeologist Chris Begley to gather 3-D data from ancient petroglyphs, stones that have been carved and etched into images by artisans of a long-dead culture.

Crane uses the prototype to collect the data on memory cards.  When he returns, he, Hassebrook and Begley will download the information into a computer and "build" the 3-D images.  It's also possible they could upload the data into a stereolithography machine that can then replicate artifacts with actual models.

"For archeologists, this is going to be huge," Hassebrook says.

Dr. Larry Hassebrook shows his hand-held version of a 3-D scanning device in the photo above

GOT MILK SECURITY? Securing a Favorite Beverage from Farm to Fridge

Date:  July 2, 2009

As featured in Safe & Secure TV Channel Magazine, Vol. 1, No.1

If you're in the dairy business, "moo-ving" milk from the cow to the grocery aisle can keep you up late at night. One worry: the shiny aluminum tanker trucks that carry milk between farms to processing plants.

Fingers Meet Photos

Date:  July 1, 2009

As featured in Safe & Secure TV Channel Magazine, Vol. 1, No.1

If only fingerprinting those of us who need a background check was as fun as finger painting and not just an inky, press, roll. Repeat nine times. Wash, scrub and dry. Return to desk to find a message: "One finger didn't take. When can you return?" Grit teeth and grumble. Recent inkless routines are almost as cumbersome; you just don't stain your IZOD or you iPod.

The Challenge

The task of assuring the security of our homeland involves protecting the citizens of the United States, the nation's critical infrastructure and key assets. This is necessary to sustain the nation's vitality against terrorism and other threats. This protection must originate at the community level. It requires discovering, developing and deploying new technology that will support first responders and key decision makers in local communities.

The Mission

NIHS' mission is to discover, develop and deploy solutions that protect and preserve the critical infrastructure of the nation's communities.

The Institute

NIHS aligns projects and research objectives with the needs and requirements of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The strategy is to manage a distributed research enterprise that effectively transitions research and development into solutions. NIHS works with DHS to determine technology needs at the community level. Then, teams are quickly assembled from multiple universities to develop solutions to the needs.

The Strategy

Through management of the Kentucky Critical Infrastructure Protections Program (KCI), the National Institute for Hometown Security (NIHS) provides an ongoing, integrated program dedicated to developing new technologies and devices. NIHS works through qualified academic institutions to accomplish the technological objectives.