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Target Detection in Stereoscopic FLIR Images

The goal of this study was to test how presenting FLIR images on a stereoscopic display will effect target detection. The appearance of objects in FLIR images depends on their temperature as opposed to the visible light reflex to which the human eye is habituated. Therefore, the FLIR image is not a natural reflection of the reality, making it more difficult to interpret. We assumed that stereoscopic display of FLIR images would improve their interpretation, by resolving the distortion of the monocular cues, the major challenge presented by these images. Thirty non-expert participants observed many FLIR images with three different levels of stereoscopic depth, half of which contained a target while the other half did not. They were instructed to point out the location of the target if and when they found it. A significant improvement in detection performance was found as the stereoscopic depth increased (i.e., longer gap between cameras). The improvement in performance when using the longest gap did not increase RT or false alarm rates, although the false alarm rate did increase for the the medium stereoscopic depth. We concluded that greater stereoscopic depth improved performance without any cost, and therefore recommended using a stereoscopic device when photographing and interpreting FLIR images.