Saturday, October 4, 2008


A couple of links to potential innovations.

From Wired, on DARPA's Super-Resolution Vision System (SRVS), a system that aims (pun intended) to provide enhanced optics for snipers:
Heat haze ordinarily throws off snipers. But SRVS changes heat haze from an obstruction into a means of enhancing the view. An effect called " turbulence-induced micro-lensing" means that every instant the heated air acts as a series of lenses; at a given moment you may be able to look right through them and see a magnified view of the scene beyond. The trick is to use digital technology to identify the "lucky regions" or "lucky frames" when a clear view appears and assemble them into a complete picture.

The end result is a portable device 35 centimeters long and weighing two kilogram with an unprecedented capability. This sniper scope can beat the 'diffraction limit,' which defines the best that any other optical device can do -- in conditions of severe heat haze, no less.

And from AFCEA (Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association) on SRVS and on developing radar-based sensors that can "see" through buildings:
If tracking targets at extreme visual range is challenging for U.S. forces, an even more pressing concern is locating enemy units hiding in buildings. The Visibuilding program is designed to meet the military’s need to extend intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in urban operations.

Visibuilding relies on radio frequency (RF) technology, predominantly radar, to scan structures. The main challenge is developing the means to gain deeper RF penetration into buildings and forming the reflected signals into an accurate building model, says Program Manager Dr. Edward J. Baranoski. He explains that DARPA’s approach is very different from traditional radar techniques, such as synthetic aperture radar (SAR) systems. Conventional radars can image relatively clearly in open space, but in high, multipath environments, such as in built-up urban areas, sensing becomes more difficult. DARPA scientists are trying to improve sensing characteristics to sharpen and produce more data than a standard SAR image, which only produces data when it scans a building’s internal spaces. “We are trying to give warfighters the layout of the building—where insurgents would be inside the building and also to help find large quantities of materials that are inconsistent with the building. This particular technology won’t be able to identify materials, but if you have two tons of metal in an upstairs bedroom, it could be a weapons cache—that certainly is not consistent with the standard use of a residential building,” Baranoski shares.

Your tax dollars at work.

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