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MSI Camera to Track Potential Dangers in Low Visibility Areas

Photonics.com
Nov 2016
O PORRIÑO, Spain, Nov. 8, 2016 — A surveillance camera now under development will use a multispectral imaging (MSI) platform to capture and reveal information about coastal, road and environmental situations, such as invisible gases or fire sources, through dense fog. In contrast to current MSI cameras, which have bulky filter wheels and sensors that require cooling, this device will be designed to weigh less than two kg and will be able to capture images of moving objects in real-time.

The device, known as SEERS (Snapshot Spectral Imager for IR Surveillance), will incorporate a multi-aperture, multisensory camera capable of capturing several wavelengths simultaneously in one place. The camera will provide a modular, compact snapshot spectral imaging system in the IR range of 0.7 to 14 μm wavelength, based on low-cost, uncooled focal plane arrays (FPAs), with embedded processing capabilities. The targeted range includes NIR, SWIR, MWIR and LWIR. The development of SEERS is being led by Aimen Technology Centre.

Development will begin with the design of a snapshot MSI imager in the IR domain. An embedded processing architecture will be used for vision and cognitive image fusion capabilities. Robust visibility, robust temperature imaging, gas detection and discrimination, and spill detection capabilities will enable event-driven video analysis. The optical design will combine multi-aperture imaging with suitable beam splitting; and sensor arrays for both multispectral and superresolution imaging. The device will be demonstrated using video analytics.

“The SEERS device is equipped with integrated computational imaging,” said project coordinator Anton Garcia-Diaz. “It has no need for cooling and can process the images in real-time, meaning key parts of processing are embedded within the device.”

Use of CMOS-compatible FPA manufacturing technology is expected to significantly reduce the cost of SEERS, compared to a commercial monochromatic camera working in the mid-IR range of 3-5 μm wavelengths.

“Few imaging systems exist with the capability to identify gases, but even they can cost over €100,000. The SEERS project aims to deliver MSI technology in an extended infrared domain at under €40,000 with improved persistence and gas identification capabilities,” said Garcia-Diaz.

SEERS could be used to reduce coastal rescue times in low visibility conditions, target pollution, and to reduce rescue and response times in tunnel and Underground tube train accidents. Coastal surveillance and traffic surveillance in confined environments are just two areas where low-cost imaging and sensing solutions are needed.

The SEERS project, which is expected to run until 2018, is supported by Europe’s Horizon 2020 research program via the Photonics Public Private Partnership.


GLOSSARY
camera
A light-tight box that receives light from an object or scene and focuses it to form an image on a light-sensitive material or a detector. The camera generally contains a lens of variable aperture and a shutter of variable speed to precisely control the exposure. In an electronic imaging system, the camera does not use chemical means to store the image, but takes advantage of the sensitivity of various detectors to different bands of the electromagnetic spectrum. These sensors are transducers...
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