The Christmas tree is stolen from the lobby of your apartment building.

Fortunately the building is equipped with security cameras and the thieves are caught on its footage. Unfortunately, however, the pictures are so grainy there’s no way anyone in the building will recognize the grinches.

Enter Scene Sharp. The Fredericton start-up, one of six finalists in the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation’s Breakthru business competition, is working on a product that would see surveillance cameras that produce incontrovertible evidence in the form of perfect images.

The technology is called image fusion and Zun Zhang, UNB professor of geodesy and geomatic engineering, together with the university itself, have a patent on it for use in satellites where it’s been used for the past 15 years. But it’s been a technological challenge for the inventors to come up with a camera application that works the same way for ground surveillance.

In the satellite world, the technology combines the excellent resolution of black and white images with lower-resolution colour image technology to create pictures whose quality are at least three times better than what’s currently available on the surveillance market.

So professor Zhang’s next project – under the company name Scene Sharp – is to develop a bridge to get the system from satellite only to ground surveillance, and now he thinks he has it.

The camera lens and chip technology Scene Sharp is testing automatically detects motion, identifies the three-dimensional location of a moving object, communicates data about its size and shape, and improves image quality by at least three times of what is currently offered in the market.

As an added bonus, the technology he’s working on is automated.

“Professor Zhang’s technology is the only one that’s fully automated and that’s why we can change it and bring it down to use cameras on the ground, and motion cameras, because there’s no manual steps involved,” said Jordan deWinter, who is in charge of Scene Sharp’s marketing and business development. Zhang, meanwhile, is the president and chief technology officer for the company.

“We need certain hardware components that fit it correctly to make it work perfectly,” deWinter said.

Read the full story in the New Brunswick Business Journal.