MIT Grants Penn. Firm Exclusive Option to License Image-Compression Technology


CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has granted an exclusive option to license wavelet-based image compression software and patent rights to Prima Facie, Inc. The agreement allows Prima Facie, of Conshohocken, Penn., to commercialize the technology for use in the field of security and video surveillance.

"Prima Facie has demonstrated the willingness and ability to commercialize this important new method of image compression," said Alex Laats, MIT's technology licensing officer for the agreement. "We think Prima Facie's products are an excellent platform for commercialization of this technology." Prima Facie designs, manufactures and sells proprietary all-digital video and sensor recording devices for mobile and stationary security applications.

Among data-compression experts, new technologies based on an area of mathematics known as wavelet theory are increasingly being considered the most promising new approach to image or video compression. Wavelet-based technologies represent a significant improvement over conventional compression technologies such as JPEG and MPEG in terms of their ability to pack tremendous amounts of data into tiny volumes without over-doing it on a computer's central processing unit.

"We were unable to achieve the higher compression ratios to meet storage and bandwidth requirements and still maintain forensic integrity with conventional methods," said Ken Tait, Prima Facie's Vice President of Research and Development. "Wavelet compression allows us to maximize storage and bandwidth and maintain a level of image fidelity which should meet courtroom standards."

The MIT wavelet-based software has added to the power of wavelets because it allows use of wavelets on finite-length data without introducing artifacts. This makes it possible to break down an image into smaller blocks for more efficient wavelet processing, while preserving image quality.

The software was developed by Associate Professor John R. Williams of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Kevin S. Amaratunga. Dr. Amaratunga received his PhD from MIT last month for the work. Professor Williams is also affiliated with MIT's Intelligent Engineering Systems Laboratory.


Topics: Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E), Industry

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