DCS 2018 Spotlights Defense, Agriculture, IoT

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Today’s high-tech world is reinventing warfare with the most advanced tools for soldiers and others in the defense and security landscape. The onset of new technologies is also advancing the environmental, cyber and health care segments. SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing (DCS) — slated for April 15-19 in Orlando, Fla. — puts such advancement at center stage.

The DCS exhibition is slated to host more than 700 companies from around the world.

The DCS exhibition is slated to host more than 700 companies from around the world. Courtesy of SPIE.

This global conference and exhibition presents leading technical conferences, courses and demonstrations on sensors, optics, imaging, lasers and related areas for defense, security, industry, health care and the environment. And the latest technical advancements are presented in sensors, infrared technology, laser systems, spectral imaging, radar, lidar and more. This annual show also offers the opportunity for information exchange among all industry players, as well as business and professional development.

DCS is divided into two technical programs, encompassing a myriad of technologies and applications:

• Defense + Security focuses specifically on sensors, imaging and optical technologies for security, law enforcement, avionics and aerospace, and defense and military applications.

• Commercial + Scientific Sensing and Imaging deals with sensors, imaging and image processing for agriculture, manufacturing, health care, pharmaceutical, transportation, information systems and environmental applications.

“SPIE Defense and Commercial Sensing has been a cornerstone event for optics and photonics researchers and engineers in the field for more than 20 years,” said Andrew Brown, SPIE senior director of Events & Global Business Development. “We’re particularly excited to be returning to Orlando this year, home to a large, yet still growing photonics community. The industry program will be bigger than ever.”

Special events

Rising Researchers is a series that recognizes “early career professionals who are conducting outstanding work in product development or research in the defense, commercial and scientific sensing, imaging, optics or related fields,” according to SPIE. Those chosen for 2018:

• Amit Agrawal, National Institute of Standards and Technology (Nanotechnology)

• Michael Buric, National Energy Technology Lab (Industrial Sensing and Measurement)

• Pai-Yen Chen, Wayne State University (Nanotechnology)

• Amber Dagel, Sandia National Laboratories (Defense and Security)

• Shuowen Hu, U.S. Army Research Laboratory (Electronic Imaging and Signal Processing)

• Chengwei Qiu, National University of Singapore (Optical Design and Engineering)

• Matthew Reichert, Princeton University (Industrial Sensing and Measurement)

• Russell Shirey, U.S. Air Force (Defense and Security)

• Mark Spencer, U.S. Air Force Research Lab (Defense and Security)

• Alina Zare, University of Florida (Electronic Imaging and Signal Processing)

Special plenary talks will tackle history and innovation with sessions including “Reflections of a Century, Projections for the Future,” with Morley O. Stone, CTO at the U.S. Air Force Research Lab; “Innovation for a Secure Future,” with Ray O. Johnson, executive in residence for Bessemer Venture Partners and former senior VP and CTO of Lockheed Martin; and “The Inevitable and Imperative Rise of Directed Energy Weapons,” with Henry A. “Trey” Obering III, executive VP and Directed Energy Innovation Services officer at Booz Allen Hamilton in Virginia.

Several networking and student-focused events will be held, including an SPIE Fellows luncheon, SPIE Senior Member breakfast, and a Lunch with the Experts program.

Industry events, development

Industry events show attendees (from engineers and researchers to CEOs) the business side of defense and commercial sensing with vendor sessions. These offer the opportunity for exhibitors to highlight technology and products prior to the opening of the DCS exhibition on April 16.

Specific sessions will be presented by companies including Ophir Optronics Ltd., FLIR Systems, 4D Technology Corp., Reynard Corp., and StingRay Optics, among others. They will focus on areas such as InGaAs with Lin/log response, folded optics in zoom lenses, and MWIR fiber combiners for multispectral sensing. Andres E. Rozlosnik, of SI Termografía Infrarroja in Argentina, and Sheng-Jen Hsieh, of Texas A&M University, will serve as session chairs.

A number of companies will take the industry stage throughout the conference as well, presenting speakers and panel discussions.

Jason Eichenholz, co-founder of Luminar, will speak on lighting the path toward autonomous mobility, while Flir Systems’ Austin Richards will discuss high-speed thermal imaging. Graeme Malcolm, CEO and founder of M Squared Lasers, and Mike Robinson, business development manager at JENOPTIK Defense & Civil Systems, are among the other speakers. Joseph X. Montemarano, executive director of MIRTHE at Princeton University, will moderate a panel of experts from industry, academia, government labs and venture capital sectors in a talk about advances in MIR technologies and applications.

Other industry events include a job fair and professional development training led by Ronald Driggers, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Central Florida’s College of Optics and Photonics.

Topical tracks

Three topical tracks cover a gamut of emerging technologies, applications and groundbreaking research in agriculture, unmanned autonomous systems (UAS), cyber-physical systems and the Internet of Things (IoT). Within each are focused paper presentations, courses, special events and exhibitors.

“The topical program tracks in agriculture, unmanned autonomous systems and Internet of Things are all great examples of how the photonics industry is impacting our daily lives, and SPIE DCS is a great place to meet the companies and researchers driving that impact,” said Bob Hainsey, SPIE director of science and technology.

The agriculture track explores potential applications for sensing and imaging technologies, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), hyperspectral imaging, phenotyping and infrared thermography. Paper presentations go in-depth in areas such as low-cost ways to collect hyperspectral measurements from small unmanned aircraft systems, UAVs for improving nitrogen management of winter wheat, and using UAV remote sensing for disease detection and mitigation in cotton crops.

Sensing and imaging are the focus of the UAS track. It offers the latest technologies, research and applications for enhancing air, ground and underwater UAS, such as lidar, IR, multispectral and hyperspectral imaging. Paper presentation topics here are to include mapping and reconnaissance night-enhanced imager for sensing of contaminants, oil and unseen threats; safety design for military robots; and advances in autonomous underwater vehicles and the move to network-centric persistent subsea capabilities.

Plenary and other such sessions offer attendees the opportunity to learn about various photonics technologies and applications, from sensors to lidar imaging, as well as challenges and solutions.

Plenary and other such sessions offer attendees the opportunity to learn about various photonics technologies and applications, from sensors to lidar imaging, as well as challenges and solutions. Courtesy of SPIE.

The third track deals with cyber-physical systems and IoT. Here, experts discuss the latest advancements in sensors, sensor fusion, big data, deep learning, cyber security and other related technologies and research. Paper presentation subjects slated for this track include maintaining trusted platforms in a cyber-contested environment, IoT honeynet for military deception, indications and warnings, and certificates, code signing and digital signatures.


Education is a key component at DCS, as more than 30 half- and full-day courses present approaches in areas such as lasers, sensors and IR systems. Courses also provide training for career enhancement. Specific program tracks to be offered cover imaging and sensing technologies; imaging and data visualization; IR sensors; defense, homeland security and law enforcement; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; laser sensors; next-generation sensors; sensor data and information exploitation; imagery and pattern analysis; and optical and optomechanical engineering.

There are numerous new and featured courses in 2018. Among them are Introduction to LIDAR for Autonomous Vehicles; Imaging Spectrometry; Fundamentals of Infrared Sensing; Atmospheric Lidar Principles and Applications; Data Fusion and Kalman Filtering for Object Tracking (State Estimation) with Multiple Radar Sensors; Introduction to Imaging with Sensor Arrays; Machine Learning Techniques for Radio Frequency Object Classification; and Infrared Imaging Technology Basics.

There will also be two-hour snapshot courses for those in nontechnical positions.


Four hundred companies from around the world will exhibit at DCS 2018. Product demonstrations put various technologies into focus — IR sources and detectors, optical components such as specialized lenses and coatings, chemical and biological sensing systems, lidar, robotics, law enforcement technology, and fiber sensors, among others.

Product demonstrations held throughout DCS put new technologies and innovation in focus.

Product demonstrations held throughout DCS put new technologies and innovation in focus. Courtesy of SPIE.

A special demonstration by Luminar will be held during the expo, featuring the company’s lidar-perception capabilities to enable the autonomous future.

“[SPIE DCS] is the premier venue for viewing technology development in the defense and security community,” Hainsey said, “and the transition of this work to commercial applications.”

For more information about SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing 2018, visit

Published: February 2018
Lidar, short for light detection and ranging, is a remote sensing technology that uses laser light to measure distances and generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape and characteristics of objects and surfaces. Lidar systems typically consist of a laser scanner, a GPS receiver, and an inertial measurement unit (IMU), all integrated into a single system. Here is how lidar works: Laser emission: A laser emits laser pulses, often in the form of rapid and repetitive laser...
Infrared (IR) refers to the region of the electromagnetic spectrum with wavelengths longer than those of visible light, but shorter than those of microwaves. The infrared spectrum spans wavelengths roughly between 700 nanometers (nm) and 1 millimeter (mm). It is divided into three main subcategories: Near-infrared (NIR): Wavelengths from approximately 700 nm to 1.4 micrometers (µm). Near-infrared light is often used in telecommunications, as well as in various imaging and sensing...
remote sensing
Remote sensing is a method of data collection and observation where information about objects, areas, or phenomena on Earth's surface is gathered from a distance, typically using sensors onboard satellites, aircraft, drones, or other platforms. This technique enables the monitoring and analysis of Earth's surface and atmosphere without direct physical contact. Remote sensing systems capture electromagnetic radiation (such as visible light, infrared, microwave, or radio waves) reflected or...
SPIE Defense + Commercial SensingDCSSensors & DetectorsImagingLasersdefensesecurityhealth careenvironmentlidarinfraredaerospaceRising Researchersagricultureunmanned autonomous systemsUASunmanned aerial vehiclesUAVremote sensingSpecial Section

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