16 May 2006 First responder thermal imaging cameras: development of performance metrics and test methods
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Thermal imaging cameras are rapidly becoming integral equipment for first responders for use in structure fires and other emergencies. Currently, there are no standardized performance metrics or test methods available to the users and manufacturers of these instruments. The Building and Fire Research Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology is developing performance evaluation techniques that combine aspects of conventional metrics such as the contrast transfer function (CTF), the minimum resolvable temperature difference (MRTD), and noise equivalent temperature difference (NETD) with test methods that accommodate the special conditions in which first responders use these instruments. First responders typically use thermal imagers when their vision is obscured due to the presence of smoke, dust, fog, and/or the lack of visible light, and in cases when the ambient temperature is uncomfortably hot. Testing has shown that image contrast, as measured using a CTF calculation, suffers when a target is viewed through obscuring media. A proposed method of replacing the trained observer required for the conventional MRTD test method with a CTF calculation is presented. A performance metric that combines thermal resolution with target temperature and sensitivity mode shifts is also being investigated. Results of this work will support the establishment of standardized performance metrics and test methods for thermal imaging cameras that are meaningful to the first responders that use them.
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Francine Amon, Francine Amon, Anthony Hamins, Anthony Hamins, "First responder thermal imaging cameras: development of performance metrics and test methods", Proc. SPIE 6207, Infrared Imaging Systems: Design, Analysis, Modeling, and Testing XVII, 62070S (16 May 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.665563; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.665563

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