VP-8 Image Analyzer
The VP-8 Image Analyzer was a very advanced instrument for analyzing images in 1976. It is a precursor of very advanced graphics analysis software available on computers today. It was manufactured by Interpretation Systems Incorporated of Lawrence, Kansas. A couple of paragraphs from a sales brochure give us an idea:
The VP-8 Image Analyzer is the key element in ISI's single channel image enhancement and analysis systems. This versatile instrument operates on a video image input and converts the image data to new display formats for improved visual image interpretation and classification. In addition, the unit allows many quantitative measurements to be taken from the image data.
Applications for the VP-8 exist wherever image analysis is needed. Visible spectrum photography, radar imagery, special and industrial x-ray photography, and infrared thermography can all be analyzed using off-line or real-time closed circuit system.
In 1976, research physicists John Jackson and Eric Jumper along with Kenneth Stevenson, Giles Charter, and Peter Shumacher, examined a photograph of the Shroud with the VP-8 Image Analyzer at the Sandia Scientific Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
It had long been suspected that the image densities of images on the Shroud represented spatial information; that is, the lighter and darker tones of the images represented distance rather than traditional representations of light as highlights, lowlights and cast shadows. See What do we mean when we say the images are 3D encoded?
The VP-8 Image Analyzer confirmed those suspicions. The photograph of the Shroud, unlike any regular photograph, drawing or painting, was dimensionally encoded.
A normal black and white photograph (or monochrome photograph of any single color) is an image of varying amounts of reflected light. Light colored surfaces approach white and dark surfaces tend towards black. The Shroud image, however, is a height-field. At the same time, it acts like a photographic negative. Closeness appears darker (a dark yellow color) and distance is lighter. The tip of the nose is dark because it was presumably close to or touching the linen at the time the image was formed. The recesses of the eyes, being farther away, are lighter.