Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Image processing means you can see both the wood and the trees


During her doctoral research in the Netherlands, Gemma Piella developed a new method for processing images. With this method more details are visible at a lower resolution than the original image: both the wood and the individual trees are distinct. Piella also combined various images of the same object to produce a detailed complete picture.

Mathematician Gemma Piella has developed a new technique for processing images. For this she used a mathematical operation that makes use of so-called wavelets. Just like a sinus, the upward and downward deviation of each of these small waves is the same. However, the wavelets only exist over a short distance and all of the peaks and troughs have different heights and widths. These characteristics ensure that a single operation can simultaneously render both large and small objects visible. This enables you to see both the entire wood and the individual trees at the same time.

A scene can only be fully understood if it can be seen at many different levels. For example, if you see a wood from a distance, your first impression is just a green surface. If you come closer by, you can see the trees. If you zoom in even further still, you can even see the leaves and the bark. Therefore, which information you extract from the picture depends upon the level at which you see it. So-called multiresolution techniques such as those used by Piella, render all details, at every level in the image visible at the same time.

The researcher modified existing wavelet techniques. Suppose that an image contains smooth areas which are separated by pieces of regularly crooked lines. Standard wavelets are good at isolating the start and end points of the crooked lines but not in recognising the trajectory of the line. Piella ensured that the wavelets made use of the geometrical information in the signal to be processed. As a result of this even the smallest details became clearly visible in images with a low resolution.

The mathematician also used her innovative technique to combine different images of the same object into a single detailed image. This is important, for example, in medicine, where imaging techniques are used to visualise different aspects of the human body. For example, combining a CT scan and an MRI scan of the brain makes both the brain tissue and the bones visible.

For further information please contact Dr Gemma Piella (Signals and Images, CWI and now working at the Telecommunications Engineering School, Polytechnical University of Catalonia, Spain), tel. +34 (0)93 4017758, e-mail: or her assistant supervisor Dr H.J.M.A. Heijmans, tel. +31 (0)20 5924057, e-mail: The doctoral thesis was defended on 30 October 2003 at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. Dr Piella’s supervisor was Prof. P. W. Hemker.

Lydie van der Meer | NWO
Further information:

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Next Generation Cryptography
20.03.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Sichere Informationstechnologie SIT

nachricht TIB’s Visual Analytics Research Group to develop methods for person detection and visualisation
19.03.2018 | Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB)

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

TRAPPIST-1 planets provide clues to the nature of habitable worlds

21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

The search for dark matter widens

21.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Natural enemies reduce pesticide use

21.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>