COMPUTING This section was written by Associate Editor Jean Thilmany.
A new technique for reveal- ing images of hidden objects may one day allow pilots to peer through fog
and doctors to see more precisely into
the human body without surgery.
Developed by engineers at Princeton University, the method relies on
the ability to clarify an image using
rays of light that would typically
make the image unrecognizable,
such as those scattered by clouds,
human tissue, or murky water.
In their experiments, the research-
ers restored an obscured image into
a clear pattern of numbers and lines.
They said the process was akin to
improving poor television reception
using the distorted, or noisy, part of
the broadcast signal.
If you think it’s a hassle getting into a sold-out game, imagine
trying to get out in a hurry.
If a full stadium faced some kind of threat: whether from fire
or bomb, just how quickly could up to 70,000 people make their
way out the gate and onto the roads?
To help with stadium evacuations, researchers are testing
a new breed of simulation software—dubbed SportEvac. The
software was developed at the National Center for Spectator
Sports Safety and Security at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.
“Up to now, those training have had to do physical tabletop
exercises,” said Lou Marciani, director of the center. “But now
with the new software training package, universities will be
able to practice the ‘what if’ scenarios in a simulated model,
making it even more realistic than ever.”
Using blueprints from actual stadiums, the developers
created virtual, three-dimensional stadiums, packed with
as many as 70,000 avatars—animated human agents, who
were programmed to respond to threats as unpredictably as
humans do. By using the software to simulate an evacuation,
security planners can see how fans would actually behave,
The avatars also include stadium workers, first responders,
and objects such as fire trucks or fans’ cars.
SportEvac tracks them all, accounting for scenarios both
probable and improbable, Marciani said.
Questions that stadium directors can ask of the simulations
include: How can a stadium be evacuated in the shortest time?
How can civil emergency workers quickly get in as fans are
dashing out? And how can our stadium guards and ushers give
information to civil responders and assist them as the evacuation unfolds?
Research Initiative at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. n
Software development was funded by the U.S. Department
of Homeland Security and managed by the Southeast Regional
NATIONAL CEN TER FOR SPECTATOR SPORTS SAFE TY AND SECURIT Y
In the SportEvac simulation and training software, thousands
of avatars are in motion at once, realistically representing
the chaotic mix of sports fans, security staff, emergency
responders and vehicles that would take place in event of