Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Imagery and Visualization

Visual representations of data and information

Showing 7 results for Imagery + Spectrum RSS
04/16/2013
The military uses long-wave infrared (LWIR) cameras as thermal imagers to detect humans at night. These cameras are usually mounted on vehicles as they are too large to be carried by a single warfighter and are too expensive for individual deployment. However, DARPA researchers recently demonstrated a new five-micron pixel LWIR camera that could make this class of camera smaller and less expensive.
The ability to see farther, with higher clarity, and through darkness and/or obscurants, is vital to nearly all military operations. At the same time, for advanced imaging systems there is an immense need to increase field of view (FOV), resolution, and day/night capability at reduced size, weight and power (SWaP) and cost. The main driver for these requirements is the need to provide dismounted soldiers and near-ground support platforms with the best available imaging tools to enhance combat effectiveness.
The Low Cost Thermal Imager - Manufacturing (LCTI-M) program seeks to enable widespread use of infrared imaging (IR) technology by individual warfighters, with a special focus on affordability and ease of use for dismounted soldiers and individual intelligence personnel, for whom situational awareness and instant sharing of information is critical. IR imaging has the capability to “see” through obscurants, providing valuable information even in environments with severely degraded visibility. Low-cost infrared cameras would empower each warfighter with this essential capability and could open the way to new tactical procedures that demand a common view of the battlefield.
The warfighter's effectiveness in current and future combat missions can be severely limited by inadequate target discrimination, and an inability to view the operational scene with larger fields of view and longer standoff distances. For ground combat and near-ground support operations where tactical information is urgently needed to make timely decisions, there is a significant capability gap for day and night intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR).
The low cost of digital imaging devices has allowed them to become ubiquitous consumer products. This low cost is made possible by leveraging a mature complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) processing infrastructure and the ability to fabricate complete focal plane arrays (FPAs) at the wafer scale. A similar trend is occurring at a smaller scale with thermal imaging technologies. Microbolometers that are sensitive in the LWIR spectrum are also manufactured at the wafer scale and the resulting cost reduction is enabling thermal imagers at consumer-grade price points.