Improving the Quality of X-Ray Images
WISE, or Wavelet Image Spectra Enhancement, is a spectral decomposition technique invented by the scientists at Creative Electron to improve the quality of x-ray images in TruView™ inspection systems. The WISE algorithm doesn’t add or remove information from the image. Instead, it adjusts image parameters to optimize the way real-time x-ray image looks. This research originated as part of a contract with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, where a set of innovative algorithms similar to WISE were developed to process images and sounds in search of terrorist activities.
The Development of WISE
The starting point for WISE's development is a deep understanding of how our brains work when looking at an image. The same way our brain does not interpret all sound frequencies the same way; it also does not interpret all image features equally. Some of these differences go back to our evolutionary development. Our ability to recognize subtle changes in the shades of an image greatly helped us to identify edible fruits and avoid poisonous plants. What that means for WISE is that we can tailor how image parameters are dynamically set to optimally adjust the image to match our perception of features in an x-ray image. The other key component of WISE is the optimal use of the TruView™ image resolution. The modern x-ray sensors used in TruView™ systems have an incredibly high resolution. That means that each image has over 16,000 shades of gray! No matter how hard we try, our brains can’t process nearly as many nuances in an image. If you try to equalize the image to show these nuances, you will add detail in one range of the image while at the same time destroying the details in another range. As a result, small shade differences in the image – which may be that void on your BGA or that small fracture on the package that you're looking for – may not be detectable. WISE's answer is to optimize image parameters in a balanced fashion so these small nuances are accentuated – and your brain can see it – without distorting the image.
How Does WISE Work?
WISE relies on a powerful pre-processing algorithm followed by transform and sub-band coding techniques to decompose the x-ray image in its spectral intensity and spatial components. The use of WISE has been shown successful in the decomposition of signals into transform structures, converting spatial signal coefficients to transform coefficients. Since this is a linear process and no information is lost, the number of coefficients produced is identical to the number of signal coefficients transformed. The transforms used in WISE are unitary, so the energy of the signal is conserved in the transformed domain. Furthermore, WISE provides decorrelation of the signal, which increases the energy concentration of the transform domain. The purpose of sub-band coding is to separate the original signal into different frequency bands using digital filter banks. Thus, once the input signal has been divided into separate frequency bands, WISE uses different coding strategies on the different bands in order to improve image analysis performance. The result of this multi-frequency signal decomposition and analysis is WISE: an algorithm that brings to life the small features in your image without distorting them.
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