A one-inch cube camera that sees through fog and smoke at short-wave infrared spectra is small and light enough to be handheld or mounted onto helmets and weapon systems. (Source: Goodrich ISR Systems)
Is that a dime used to show the size and scale of this camera? Wow, pretty tiny. So what does the small size and other features bring to the equation in terms of benefits for military applications? And are there other potential use cases?
Beth, one of the advantages that our military has is the technology that is available to them. This is both a function of innovation and money. One of those technological advantages is the ability to operate at night with IR technologies. The devices are definately man portable, but as with anything military, the lighter, the better. What really strikes me is the fact that it is not cooled. It seems like this is due to the processing that can be done to correct for thermal effects.
As for other applications, I can imagine lots for industrial imaging and certianly for surveilance. Perhaps Ann has some more application information.
Beth, that is a dime--the camera cube measures less than an inch on each side. The point of its tiny size is that it can be easily integrated with smaller equipment, like a helmet or a rifle, or many of them can now be carried in the same space on an unmanned aircraft, for example.
Another application for this camera would be for first responders. I live in the central valley of California and parts of it during winter months are plagued by heavy fog so much so that the Highway Patrol must pace traffic to keep people from running over each other. We could use this technology to save lives.
I'm impressed, Ann, that this camera can see through fog. I would imagine the small size offers a ton of military surveillance opportunities, from drones to cameras implanted on the gear of individual soldiers. I would imagine it would be handy for a combatant to extend a tiny camera into a structure before entering. I'm sure that would help cops as well.
If it could be made inexpensively this would be great for night driving through the fog. Just add a high speed shutter (LCD?) to protect it from high ambient light, when it happens to keep it from being blinded.
Why is everyone fixated on the uses for military? Why can't we think more about civilian life improvements instead? Why is it that every new and neat gadget has to be thought of in military uses? Is there not enough war and killing? Let's move beyond the violence of war and better our communities.
Noswad, I think some of the reason we're seeing these technology developments coming through the military is because the military has the funding to work on technology that does not have a direct commercial application.
Noswad, SWIR and NIR cameras are not at all cheap. That's why they are aimed at the military. Although civilian uses are possible, they're not at all practicable in the high volumes that consumer products are manufactured in. Many technologies aimed at military uses, such as robotics and machine vision, are also funded by the military because they have the budget.
As saddleman points out, first responders can also use this technology.
War is all about the invasion of privacy, Noswad. I wouldn't be too eager for a product that may nullify freedoms we are fighting for.
Already from the military for civilian use we have electronic "ears" for eavedropping, night vision googles, heat sensors that "see" though walls, and now we see though fog. (I'm sure there are more.) Our right to prvacy is almost gone already. Not to mention personal electronic files that are legally abused on a daily basis.
jhankwitz, Goodrich ISR's home page has a slideshow--be patient, it changes slides a bit slowly--that includes several side-by-side comparisons of smoke and fog shots with and without SWIR, as well as other apps like solar panels and space.
A camera like this could certainly be a very valuable asset in a car during those times at night when I hit big patches of fog. It would take a heads-down display, probably, but it could certainly be a real lifesaver.
Is there any hint about what these may be selling for? And would they even be available to the general public at any price? I know that they removed the IR capabilities from VCR cameras a long time ago, for reasons that were not that clear to me.
But really, price ought to be a parameter that could be disclosed.
William, price wasn't mentioned, or we would have included it. Since this is targeted at the military, it's all on a contract basis anyway. As we mentioned earlier in the comments thread, SWIR and NIR cameras are not cheap, which is one reason they're aimed at the military. The development of many technologies aimed at military uses, such as robotics and machine vision, are originally funded by the military because they have the budget.
Ann, my thinking is that such a camera could provide considerable value in some non-military applications, and at that point the price may be relatively cheap. That was the case with some high intensity LED lights, where the suppier was trelling me that they were not yet competitive with equivalent incandescant lights. I had to explain that in the crash testing business reliability and performance far outweigh cost as selection parameters. It took several minutes of explanation to convince him that for our application cost was not an issue. Unfortunately, the performance, which was a major concern, was not adequate at the time.
Thanks for explaining in more detail, William. I see what you mean. Volume of course has to get high enough, and continue long enough, to get component price points down. Goodrich ISR has been doing that with their technology over time, but it's a lot slower than, say, semiconductor processors, partly because of the technology, and partly because there just aren't anywhere near the same numbers being produced.
Yes, William, I used to work in the mining industry and could see a number of applications for this type of device. In certain areas where there is very fine dust, it is sometimes necessary to wait for the dust to clear after dumping a dipper before resuming the cycle. If something like this allowed continuous operation, it would save a boat load of wasted money.
We looked at a number of sources to determine this year's greenest cars, from KBB to automotive trade magazines to environmental organizations. These 14 cars emerged as being great at either stretching fuel or reducing carbon footprint.
Healthcare might seem to be an unlikely target application for the Internet of Things technology, but recent developments show small ways that big-data is going to make an impact on patient care moving into the future.
A quick look into the merger of two powerhouse 3D printing OEMs and the new leader in rapid prototyping solutions, Stratasys. The industrial revolution is now led by 3D printing and engineers are given the opportunity to fully maximize their design capabilities, reduce their time-to-market and functionally test prototypes cheaper, faster and easier. Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing in North America, will explore the large product offering and variety of materials that will help CAD designers articulate their product design with actual, physical prototypes. This broadcast will dive deep into technical information including application specific stories from real world customers and their experiences with 3D printing. 3D Printing is