DARPA Unveils Gigapixel Camera - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Mobile
News
7/6/2012
03:21 PM
50%
50%

DARPA Unveils Gigapixel Camera

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency works on camera with ultra high resolution that will help soldiers and unmanned aerial vehicles see better through dark, fog, smoke.

Defense Tech: 20 War-Fighting Innovations
Military Transformers: 20 Innovative Defense Technologies
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The Department of Defense's innovation arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is working to develop a gigapixel camera capable of much higher resolution than the human eye can see. The agency has successfully tested cameras with 1.4 and 0.96 gigapixel resolutions at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C., and hopes to reach resolutions of up to 10 to 50 gigapixels.

A gigapixel is 1,000 megapixels, or 1 billion pixels.

The gigapixel camera, in a manner similar to a parallel-processor supercomputer, uses between 100 and 150 micro cameras to build a wide-field panoramic image. These small cameras' local aberration and focus provide extremely high resolutions, combined with smaller system volume and less distortion than traditional wide-field lens systems.

The camera project is part of DARPA's Advanced Wide Field-of-Vision Architectures for Image Reconstruction and Exploitation (AWARE) program to improve military personnel's ability to see farther, through darkness, through obscurants such as fog or smoke, with higher clarity. These ultra-high-resolution cameras can be of use not just to ground troops, but for unmanned aerial vehicles. Currently, the gigapixel camera is two-and-half feet square and 20 inches deep, not yet of a size to be considered for production, but a major step forward in resolution.

[ Read DARPA Works On Virtual Reality Contact Lenses. ]

Earlier this year, AWARE unveiled its advances in hand-held thermal imagers and long-range thermal sights. The High Operating Temperature Mid-Wave Infrared (HOT MWIR) system owes its reduced size to a focal plane array operating at a higher temperature, using micro-miniature mercury-cadmium-telluride detector pixels, with a small, battery-powered cooler. These provide a large format sensor in a small, low-power package. The detector pixels' sensitivity across the light spectrum makes use of new optics that combine mid-wave and short-wave infrared capabilities in a single platform.

Improving the range and sharpness of thermal images while reducing the size of the device means that soldiers can use rifle scopes that give them a better view of their targets from longer distances, reducing their exposure to opponents.

"Never before has a MCT [mercury-cadmium-telluride] MWIR with 'see spot' capability been developed into such small handheld sights and potentially unequalled performance in future sniper scopes," Nibir Dhar, program manager of AWARE, said on the program's website. "The HOT-MWIR scope's range is significantly farther than the current thermal weapon sights. Such a capability should lead to increased standoff distance for snipers and provide a significant advantage over adversaries."

U.S. Special Forces Command has moved the HOT MWIR scope technology into program development to take it from prototype to field use. DRS Technologies has received a $40 million contract to produce the long-range thermal sights, which will weigh less than two pounds.

Every company needs a social networking policy, but don't stifle creativity and productivity with too much formality. Also in the debut, all-digital Social Media For Grownups issue of The BrainYard: The proper tools help in setting social networking policy for your company and ensure that you'll be able to follow through. (Free with registration.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Andrew Hornback
50%
50%
Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/7/2012 | 2:50:13 AM
re: DARPA Unveils Gigapixel Camera
I hope there are plans to use this technology away from the battlefield - I think a great use might be as an orbiting visible spectrum telescope to replace my dear old friend, the Hubble.

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
IT Success = Storage & Data Center Performance
Balancing legacy infrastructure with emerging technologies requires laying a solid foundation that delivers flexibility, scalability, and efficiency. Learn what the most pressing issues are, how to incorporate advances like software-defined storage, and strategies for streamlining the data center.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll