A business owner arrives at his office one morning to find a door open, windows broken, and property strewn about. After calling the police, he reviews the surveillance video: not much more than blurry images of indiscernible shapes here and there. A car’s headlights flicker across the scene. Then nothing.

A night security officer hears an alarm, then sees a truck erratically driving away from a prohibited area. He calls in a report and requests law enforcement. After the area is secure, they review the security camera feed: black and white blurs; vaguely human silhouettes; darkness. The only witness says they heard something, but couldn’t see anyone.

Night-time video surveillance

Scenes like these are all too common. Of all known crimes, 70% happen at night, hidden under cover of darkness. To effectively reduce that crime statistic, video surveillance systems must extend and enhance surveillance capabilities into the dark, alerting security personnel before an event occurs.

Today, Hikvision is equipping video surveillance hardware to shatter that statistic and take night time video surveillance deeper into the darkness, lifting the cover of night to capture the kind of information that will lead to the prosecution of criminals.

Learning from the human eye

In humans, two types of photoreceptive cells – rods and cones – sit on the rear inner surface of the eye, known as the retina. These two light-sensitive cell types independently perform different functions to capture the visible world around us. The rods respond to brightness while cones capture and identify colours. The brain fuses the information into a single image.

Nature did it first, but emerging technology is going further. Hikvision’s DarkFighterX Series technology was developed from insight into the way human eyes see. Infrared sensors in the camera capture reflected Infrared light that is invisible to the human eye but very “bright” to the sensors – similar to the rods in our eyes. While these IR sensors only transmit in black and white, visible-light sensors in the camera are simultaneously detecting and decoding colours – like the cones mentioned above. Both sensors sit behind a single lens, just as the rods and cones in our eyes.

Hikvision is equipping video surveillance hardware to shatter that statistic and take night time video surveillance deeper into the darkness

The camera combines the two spectrums of light to create video and images – the brightness of the IR sensors imbued with the low-light colour. Hikvision refers to this as bi-spectral technology. The result? DarkFighterX renders higher brightness, better colour fidelity, sharper edges, and less noise and blur.

Extension, expansion, and application

Video surveillance systems must extend and enhance surveillance capabilities into the darkness in order to reduce the overwhelming amount of night time crime. This has been the pursuit of Hikvision’s R&D teams for many years now, and many amazing technologies have resulted.

Applications for this camera and its advanced technology range widely. Systems integrators will likely find adaptations for the DarkFighterX that even go beyond what Hikvision foresees. At first glance, applications include crime-prone areas of cities after dark: sidewalks and streets, alleyways and retail centres, for example.

Tourist areas and scenic destinations can be monitored by the DarkFighterX, such as rivers, lakes and beaches, forests, public squares, historical monuments, and more. Critical infrastructure locations are often prime targets for criminals. Ports, electrical and other power plants, railways, airports, and other transport hubs, and international borders are just a few of the examples for this area of application. Wherever there is a security vulnerability at night, that is where the DarkFighterX Series shines.

Mimicking human sight

The DarkFighterX Series cameras expand upon the human sense of sight by first mimicking the human eye – two distinct sensors capturing and combining brightness and colours – then extending that ability in extremely low-light environments. The technology results in colourful, bright, and accurate imaging on security monitors, making night time surveillance video appear nearly as clear as daytime video.

With the DarkFighterX Series, Hikvision can – almost literally – place hundreds of eyes over a wide expanse of space, giving security personnel “sight” that’s quite beyond anything they have seen before – even in the dark.

You just might not believe it … until you see it.