Undergraduate Student Research

Research reports from the class of 2006  


Imaging Science undergraduates (yes, undergraduates) have many opportunities to work with faculty and staff on cutting-edge scientific research. Most students work in the Center for Imaging Science, getting paid to apply the knowledge and skills they have learned inside the classroom. Then, as fourth-year students, they complete a senior research project in an area of imaging science that interests them. Some students even have their work published in scientific journals before they graduate!

Here are the final reports from the class of 2006. Clicking the title will download a PDF of the full report.

Michael A. Fuller
A Spectral Evaluation of PFDs

Thousands of United States Coast Guard search and rescue missions are deployed every year. Through the use of remote sensing through airborne imaging, larger areas can be covered and the rescue missions become more efficacious. The Spectral reflectance and emissivity signatures of Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) are a key factor in detection during airborne search and rescue missions. An analysis of personal the PFDs spectral signatures and airborne sensors can lead to more reliable and faster detection which, in turn will result in saving more lives.

In order to perform such an analysis, spectral measurements from 0.35-25.0 microns are taken using several different spectrometers. The PFDs were measured dry and wet in order to observe the effects of water on these floatation devices. The result is that water has greater effects on some wavelengths than others. From these measurements, wavelengths that result in peak reflectance and emissivity values were found and determined to be optimal for PFD detection. From this analysis, a conclusion was drawn regarding the characteristics such as wavelength sensitivity, filtering, and resolution of an airborne sensor(s) needed for detection to be possible. The WASP Lite airborne sensor, from the Digital Imaging and Remote Sensing Laboratory at Rochester Institute of Technology, was employed to image red, green, blue, and near infrared narrow band spectral response to verify these conclusions.
Advised by Mr. Lon Smith

Christopher J. Louten
Eye-Tracking Studies in Visual Search and Image-Based Cueing

Thermal infrared sensors and near-infrared sensors have advanced tremendously in recent years, and are now commercially available for use in many tasks, including search and rescue. Unfortunately, these sensors still suffer from noise and limited spatial resolution, making it a challenge to select the search target from the background noise. This project investigated the feasibility of a computer-aided human search system as a possible solution. The task involved a search through a varying spatial frequency monochrome background for an implanted target. Cue types consisting of jitter, contrast, or brightness adjustments were placed over these targets near detection threshold. Results were analyzed to determine the effect of cue type on time to detection and on the peripheral angle at which the different target types were detected. Jitter cues proved to be less variable between the spatial frequencies than contrast and brightness. This process has shown predictability in the jitter and contrast stimuli, but none for brightness. Patterns, which seem to be based on time required for search, have also been noted in regards to visual angle. Advised by Drs. Jeff B. Pelz, Andrew M. Herbert, Mitchell R. Rosen

Sangyun Moon
A Comparison of Actual and Synthesized Magnetic Resonance Images

Magnetic resonance imaging is a medical imaging technique used for taking tomographic pictures of the inside of the human body. It has greater diagnostic utility than other imaging techniques such as ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET), or X-ray. For example, unlike other imaging techniques, magnetic resonance images can be taken in any plane; coronal, sagittal, axial, and oblique. Therefore, the human body can be viewed in any direction. In order to locate pathology in the human body, several magnetic resonance images having different image contrast are necessary. The contrast of the image is varied based on the pulse sequences used in the MRI instrument. The most commonly used pulse sequences are spin-echo, inversion recovery, and gradient echo pulse sequence. Those pulse sequences have their own signal equations, so if the equation is used, the synthetic image can be generated. A magnetic resonance imaging synthetic image generator (MRISIG) was written to synthesize magnetic resonance sequences from these pulse sequences. If there is little difference between generated synthetic image and real magnetic resonance image, the MRISIG will be useful software to predict optimal sequence for diagnosing disease.
Advised by Dr. Joseph P. Hornak

Michelle Spampata
An Investigation in the Specular Reflectance Characteristics of Substrates in Electrophotographic Printing

It is well known that the choice of paper affects the print quality in laser electrophotographic images. The range of colors (gamut) is a major print quality metric that varies significantly with the choice of paper. Gloss, surface roughness, whiteness, and light scattering are all properties of paper that one might expect to affect color reproduction. Nevertheless, how these paper properties influence color and print gloss is not well understood. The focus of this work is to add to this understanding. This was done through the construction of a feature vector of paper properties. Statistical analysis was applied to these metrics, and the major correlations with printed color gamut were the gloss of the paper and the basis weight of the substrate.

The underlying theory of how light interacts with an inhomogeneous material like paper was also tested. BRDF plots compiled with the micro-goniophotometer at multiple angles of incidence showed that Fresnel
Advised by Dr Jonathon S. Arney

Research reports from the class of 2005

Steven R Broskey
Investigation of Binocular Eye Movements in the Real World

Eye movements are tied to specific tasks or strategies, so monitoring those movements can provide a valuable insight into our methods of perception. Taking advantage of this window, scientists have done eye tracking experiments in an attempt to characterize our visual perception of the world around us. Many eye trackers are laboratory based and immobile. The Visual Perception Lab at RIT utilizes portable monocular eye trackers developed within the lab. While tracking one eye provides good data to examine our vision and scene perception, humans are equipped with two eyes, which provide clues we use in our world in addition to those gathered by only one eye. By observing both eyes using the portable eye tracking system we are attempting to look at these additional clues. These new observations often occur in a laboratory setting within defined parameters; it has been shown, however, that well-constrained experiments may tell more about the constraints than about the properties being observed. The binocular eye tracker was analyzed and a technique was devised to calibrate the binocular eye tracker. The noise and resolution fall-off of the system were characterized and explained.
Advised by Dr. Jeff Pelz

Geoffrey A. Franz
Scattering and Depolarization in a Complex System

The focus of this research project has been on modeling the effects of scattering and depolarization in mildly turbid media. A turbidometer was designed and constructed to measure the amount of scattering and depolarization caused by various sizes and concentrations of latex particles in aqueous suspension. The relationship between scattering and depolarization was found to have only a small dependence on particle size and/or size distribution. These relationships were used to find the number of scattering events. Two scattering events were found to be sufficient to completely depolarize the incident light for all six latex samples, regardless of the direction in which the light exited the sample. Side-scattered light was found to lose between 25-50% of its polarization, even when nearly zero scattering events take place. These results indicate that the small amount of scattering that may occur within an ink layer may partially depolarize the light. This has significant implications for the interpretation of BRDF measurements using the micro-goniophotometer developed in this laboratory.
Advised by Dr. Jonathan Arney

Rachael Gold
Performance Analysis of the Invariant Algorithm for Target Detection in Hyperspectral Imagery

In the field of Remote Sensing, few topics are as important as target detection. The theory behind target detection is fairly simple. Each object has a unique spectral signature that can be measured in lab under predictable conditions. A hyperspectral sensor measures spectral curves in unpredictable conditions caused by changes in illumination and atmosphere. Most target detection algorithms attempt to remove the illumination and atmospheric conditions from the sensor measured spectrum to make it look like a lab measured spectrum. This form of target detection is very successful for high contrast targets imaged in well-behaved atmospheric conditions. Because of the irregularity of these conditions, this proves to be a difficult task at times. A new method for target detection was created to overcome these difficulties. The method is intended to be "invariant" to the variable illumination conditions and is therefore termed the Invariant Algorithm.
Advised by Dr. David Messinger

Bryan Shaw
Dual-Band Video Camera

The purpose of this project is to develop an economical camera using two charged coupled devices that would mimic the useful bands of color infrared film, which could then be used for aerial remote sensing of vegetation. With the captured images, it will be very easy to calculate the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). Having a way to produce digital images in the same manner as infrared film would be very useful since digital imaging allows for rapid image capture, adjustment, permanent storage, and the option of digital enhancement. The initial design of this camera was completed by Sergio Guevara as part of his graduate thesis, Design of a Two-Sensor Camera for Near- Infrared Aerial Remote Sensing. In this project, it is my duty to assemble the camera, develop and evaluate test procedures for the alignment of the camera, and to calibrate the camera.
Advised by Dr. Robert Kremens

Evaluating a Camera for Archiving Cultural Heritage

A characterization of both the color and spatial image quality of a camera was performed in order to find out if the camera is good enough to capture detail in paintings for cultural heritage applications (artwork preservation). The following primary factors that affect color and spatial image quality were characterized: spatial uniformity, tone reproduction, color reproduction accuracy, noise dynamic range, spatial cross-talk, spatial frequency response, color-channel registration and depth of field. In addition, a usability study was performed on a previously-proposed method for characterizing a camera. A Sigma SD9 was found to not be good enough for cultural heritage application. The methods for evaluating a camera are easy; however, there were some difficulties during the experiment. In addition, some improvements to her method should be considered such as more specific guidelines for the values of the criteria and also suggestions could be made as to whether a camera that excels in most areas but fails one or two tests would still be useful.
Advised by Dr. Roy S. Berns

Michael Muldowney
Time Series Analysis of Late Summer Microcystis Algae Blooms through Remote Sensing

The intent of this experiment is to perform a time series analysis of Lake Ontario in an effort to devise a viable remote sensing classification method for two separate algal events using satellite data. Microcystis Aeruginosa is an alga that can produce small bubbles surrounding each alga increasing water-leaving radiances. "Whiting" events are chemical reactions commonly caused by the respiration of some algal blooms that produces Calcium Carbonate. Both blooms appear optically similar due to the increased water-leaving radiances. These two algal events should exhibit enough spectral difference such that they can be distinguished from one another using satellite data. This in turn can help lead to a method of yearly prediction of harmful alga growth.
Advised by Dr. Anthony Vodacek

Stephanie L. Shubert
Skin Characterization with High-Frequency Ultrasound

Recent development of high-frequency ultrasound transducers has led to a vast range of applications in dermatology, such as the evaluation of tumors, burn injuries, skin aging, etc. The question examined in this research is "Can tissue structure changes be quantified with 15 MHz ultrasound?" Ultrasound data are collected in the pulse-echo mode from in vivo studies in normal volunteers from the mid-anterior and posterior forearm. The data are displayed as B mode intensity images. To help differentiate between different states of tissue the rf data are converted into the frequency domain and the Integrated Backscatter, a spectral feature based on the power spectrum, is analyzed.
Advised by Dr. Maria Helguera

Brian Staab
Investigation of Noise and Dimensionality Reduction Transforms on Hyperspectral Data as Applied to Target Detection

In the remote sensing field, target detection is an ever-developing area of focus, especially with the relatively recent development of hyperspectral sensors. As a result of the new sensor technology, hyperspectral image processing has become increasingly important in the exploitation of the data. Specifically, target detection algorithms have been developed that determine pixel by pixel, which pixels are target or background (non-target) in hyperspectral imagery. The underlying principle of target detection is that targets will be distinguishable from the background based on their optical-spectral properties. Target detection algorithms are based on this distinction or separation of target and background. Various techniques have been developed to further amplify this separation and provide improved target detection by reducing the number of false alarms (i.e., pixels that the algorithm thought were target but in reality were background).
Advised by Mr. Emmett Ientilucci,

Jeffrey P. Wible
Specular Reflectance of Substrates Used in Printing

Specular gloss is an important factor in the development and utilization of printable substrates. A common method of measuring specular gloss is to use a standard gloss meter, several of which have been developed over the years by various research firms. However, gloss meters provide only a single number index of specular reflectance. A micro-goniophotometer has recently been developed in this laboratory for measuring the entire goniophotometric curve (BRDF) of specular light reflected from substrate samples. This provides significantly more information about gloss than is available from simple gloss meters.
Advised by Dr. Jonathan Arney

Here are some examples of past student projects:

Derek Walvoord
Quality of Signal Detection Using an Approximate Matched Filter

This project was aimed at characterizing a new approximate spatial matched filter. Matched filters are used in detecting locations of known targets in an unknown background. For example, spatial matched filters can be used in the recognition of a specific character in an ancient document, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls or the Archimedes Palimpsest.

Constantin Rothkopf
Design of an Optical Tracking Device to Record Head and Body Movements

The aim of this project was to develop a system to be added the RIT Wearable Eyetracker that would recover head movements of a person as he or she performs a natural task. Recovering the head movements can give additional information about where the person looks as they perform tasks, which helps researchers understand the underlying cognitive processes of visual perception in the real world. The system captures omnidirectional images of the environment by using a small CCD video camera and a hyperbolic mirror. Several algorithms were written to ?gunwrap?h the images into a panoramic view of the environment and to extract motion from the image sequences.

Pano Spiliotis
Multi-Dimensional Segmentation of an Oil Painting

To identify artifacts in an oil painting, one must understand the painting and its properties. An artifact is anything in the painting the artist did not intend for us to see. For example, a painting may look fine in an art gallery, but under different illumination (ultraviolet or infrared) it may show that the painting has been over painted and re-varnished in a certain area. This project investigated a Renaissance painting, and detected that a halo had been repainted. As it turns out, the halo was originally painted with gold, but a cleaning solvent removed the gold. After it was cleaned, the halo was repainted.

Monica Barbu
Surface Topography of Cuneiform Tablets

Ancient Cuneiform tablets consist of one of the oldest forms of writings in the world. Reconstruction of these ancient documents provide scientists and scholars with the challenge of transforming their three dimensional characteristics to a two dimensional plane. Calculating the topography of the Cuneiform tablets from digital images is a distinct way to extract contour measurements of the wedge shaped characters found in their surfaces. Using surface topography and digital image processing techniques, images of the Cuneiform text can be displayed in their highest potential of detail and clarity.

Rochester Institute of Technology
Last Updated: September 24, 2004
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