Thermal weapon sights have been used by the U.S. military for decades. More recently, there has been a growing interest in infrared imagers for paramilitary and civilian applications such as law-enforcement and homeland defense. However, traditional weapon sights are not always ideal products for these applications because they do not typically have form-factor or features allowing them to be readily employed as general-purpose imagers off the weapon. Simply stated, most law-enforcement agencies cannot afford a dedicated sniper scope. Instead, this market demands a thermal imager that can be employed in a variety of situations, both weapon-mounted and handheld. Described herein is a new infrared sight that provides this multi-use capability. Based around the Omega imaging core developed by Indigo Systems, this lightweight system employs a unique housing design that mounts to a weapon rail or tripod or is held comfortably in one hand for use as a short-range “pocket scope”. Key aspects of the design are discussed, with particular focus on ergonomics, human factors, and advanced features that enhance its utility in a multi-use role.
The Brazilian free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) forms some of the largest aggregations of mammals known to mankind. However, little is known about population sizes and nightly foraging activities. An advanced infrared (IR) thermal imaging system with a real time imaging and data acquisition system is described for censusing Brazilian free-tailed bats during nightly emergences at selected Texas caves. We developed a statistically-based algorithm suitable for counting emerging bats in columns with relative constant trajectories and velocities. Individual bats are not identified and tracked, but instead column density is calculated at intervals of 1/30th of a second and counts are accumulated based upon column velocity. Preliminary evaluation has shown this method to be far more accurate than those previously used to census large bat populations. This real-time automated censusing system allows us to make accurate and repeatable estimates of the number of bats present independent of colony size, ambient light, or weather conditions, and without causing disturbance to the colony.
This paper describes the use of the Phoenix infrared camera system in the area of high speed laser research. The Phoenix camera is a highly modularized, high performance system, developed by Indigo Systems Corporation to fully exploit the features inherent to Indigo's line of standard readout IC (ROIC) chips. Among the features supported, several are of particular relevance to work in the areas of laser gated imaging and beam profiling. These include windowing capability to greater than 10 KHz; pre-programmed acquisition sequences to support event profiling; a variety of synchronization modes to synchronize the camera to external events as well as external events to the camera, a built-in programmable trigger delay and a full 14-bit data path. Several examples of ongoing basic research will be presented to illustrate the use of these features.
Portable thermal imagers are being utilized with great success in many new and emerging applications, and the law enforcement field in particular is benefiting from thermal imagery. It is quickly becoming common practice for enforcement agencies to apply night-vision technology in such activities as search and rescue, surveillance and stakeout, and suspect pursuit. Thermal cameras, however, do not typically provide an intrinsic means for video recording or for visible imaging. Such capabilities could significantly expand and improve the uses of thermal imaging by law enforcement personnel. For example, surveying the scene of a crime or traffic accident with a thermal sensor offers potential for revealing and documenting clues that otherwise go unnoticed. This paper presents a system that integrates an IR micro-camera with a visible camcorder. The system can display and record live visible and thermal imagery and also capture single-frame snapshots on removable media. This paper also explores the utility of such an integrated camera in various law enforcement scenarios.
Infrared sensors have advanced in performance and reduced in price to new and unsurpassed levels. Significant advancements in uncooled technology have recently enabled the notion of an expendable infrared sensor. Further performance and producibility improvements are still required such as the elimination of the thermal electric cooler and shutter, as well as high levels of signal processing integration. Additionally, the economy of scale associated with very large volumes will be realized as specific, enabling price points are achieved. Specific cost objectives and enabling technology requirements are discussed.
Indigo Systems Corporation has developed a family of standard readout integrated circuits (ROIC) for use in IR focal plane arrays (FPAs) imaging systems. These standard ROICs are designed to provide a compete set of operating features for camera level FPA control, while also providing high performance capability with any of several detector materials. By creating a uniform electrical interface for FPAs, these standard ROICs simplify the task of FPA integration with imaging electronics and physical packages. This paper begins with a brief description of the features of four Indigo standard ROICs and continues with a description of the features, design, and measured performance of indium antimonide, quantum well IR photo- detectors and indium gallium arsenide imaging system built using the described standard ROICs.
This paper present a novel low cost, high performance readout integrated circuit (ROIC) for bolometer uncooled detector applications. The array is designed to offer better than 80mK NEdT using f/1.8 optics. The design incorporates advanced on-ROIC signal processing electronics that allows bolometer element non-uniformity control over a wide range of ROIC substrate temperatures. The small format array is ideally suited for high volume low-cost production applications.
Imaging sensor technology is experiencing an explosion in development activities and innovation. The past few years has seen a migration of high-technology sensor devices from a few aerospace laboratories to dozens of new military and commercial-based activities and applications. This transition has created the need for new versatile electronic imaging systems that can support the special requirements of these non-standard sensors. This paper describes one approach that has been implemented and is currently utilized in several varied applications. The imaging system incorporates all of the functions necessary to acquire data from a nonstandard sensor and to convert the acquired data into standard real-time video formats. Included in the functions are AID conversion two point non-uniformity correction intensity transform frame integration frame buffering scan conversion and statistic calculation. Non-obvious uses of scan-conversion and intensity transform have extended use of the system in demanding real-world applications. In support of this highly flexible imaging hardware system an extensive software environment has been created to allow simple implementation of advanced imaging functions. All system configuration and setup functions are controlled from a computer keyboard eliminating time consuming hardware reconfiguration. Real-time functions such as the calculation of non-uniformity coefficients and automatic gain and level control are also implemented. In addition the imaging hardware and software system has been fully integrated with a second existing software package that is used for non-real-time data reduction and analysis. With