NEC is developing "super-resolution" technologies that might help make the "zoom and enhance" trope seen on TV a reality. The company is initially targeting surveillance cameras for this technology, noting that it will allow minute details to be maintained even when images are blown up to four times the resolution (which would represent a 16x increase in pixel count). NEC claims that it can create a super-resolution image from a single photo, unlike current technology which requires multiple sequential video frames. Sharpness and clarity typically fall off after two or three levels of magnification, something that NEC believes won't be an issue with its single-image solution.
NEC says the main technology at work is a database or "library" of categorized images. The library contains a variety of images in different resolutions and automatically selects the highest resolution necessary based on the subject; it also automatically eliminates redundant images to keep the library size down. NEC mentions using this technology in static, wide-angle situations like airports or traffic intersections, so these cameras might fire continuously and fill in increased detail from other images — but we're not sure how that will help fill in details on the license plate of a cab blowing through a red light, for example. This also doesn't sound much different from the multi-image technology that NEC is seeking to surpass. NEC has been working on upscaling technology for a while now, so we're hoping to see a demo of this technology soon.