In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the nation’s intelligence services, has invested an undisclosed small amount of money into video enhancement company MotionDSP and also awarded it with contracts.
MotionDSP chief executive Sean Varah wouldn’t say what the CIA wants do with the technology. However, he said the investment lends credibility to the company’s technology, which was dismissed by Google during a pitch last year when Google told Varah that Google could something similar without MotionDSP’s help. However, the company’s technology has since gotten better, Varah said. The technology improves low-resolution images by tracking pixels as they change frame by frame, making intelligent conclusions about blurred objects or areas. Take, for example, a blurry photo of a person running in a white shirt in the dark. MotionDSP can follow the pixels of white as they move in a video, determine they are part of a coherent object and then reconstruct the shirt’s shape in a higher-resolution video.
See the “before” and “after” videos we’ve embedded below.
The company is conducting several pilot tests. It hopes to sell its technology to Internet video sites and mobile carriers to improve the quality of video captured by their customers. The company has raised a total of just less than $1 million, with $500,000 of that coming last year from angels. It has $1 million in contracts, Varah said.
The company is also helping to do filtering for videos, to help video producers avoid copyright violations. The DSP product comes in a desktop application, and also as a hosted Web service.