The term "Smart Sensors" refer to sensors which contain both sensing and signal processing capabilities with objectives
ranging from simple viewing to sophisticated remote sensing, surveillance, search/track, weapon guidance, robotics,
perceptronics and intelligence applications.
In a broad sense, they include any sensor systems covering the whole electromagnetic spectrum: this paper deals
specifically with a new class of smart sensors in infrared spectral bands whose developments started some years ago,
when it was recognized that the rapid advances of "very large scale integration" (VLSI) processor technology and mosaic
infrared detector array technology could be combined to develop new generations of infrared smart sensor systems with
much improved performance.
So, sophisticated signal processing operations have been developed for these new systems by integrating microcomputers
and other VLSI signal processors within or next to the sensor arrays on the same focal plane avoiding
complex computing located far away from the sensors. Recently this approach is achieving higher goals by a new and
revolutionary sensors concept which introduce inside the sensor some of the basic function of living eyes, such as
dynamic stare, dishomogenity compensation, spatial and temporal filtering.
New objectives and requirements of these new focal plane processors are presented for this type of new infrared smart
sensor systems. This paper is concerned with the processing techniques for only the front end of the focal plane
processing, namely, the enhancement of target-to-noise ratio by background clutter suppression and the improvement in
target detection by "smart" and pattern correlation threshold.