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From Crop Science to Space Exploration, Optical Sensing on the Rise

Photonics Spectra
Apr 2017
Technologies that were once recognized only by niche professionals and the military have reached a price point that has the commercial sector excited.

MARIE FREEBODY, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, marie.freebody@photonics.com

From smartphones, smart homes and autonomous vehicles to crop science, food inspection and space observations, optical sensors are finding increasing use in the commercial sector. Image sensing evolved from the military arena to commercial applications such as remote sensing, advanced machine vision, the medical/biotechnology world, and even into artwork and antiquities. Once size, weight and cost were driven down, there was an immediate upturn in the market; and this growth has been

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GLOSSARY
remote sensing
Technique that utilizes electromagnetic energy to detect and quantify information about an object that is not in contact with the sensing apparatus.
lidar
An acronym of light detection and ranging, describing systems that use a light beam in place of conventional microwave beams for atmospheric monitoring, tracking and detection functions. Ladar, an acronym of laser detection and ranging, uses laser light for detection of speed, altitude, direction and range; it is often called laser radar.
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