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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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