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DOD Targets Enhanced Long-Range 3-D Imaging Technology

DARPA will use computational imaging, digital holography, and other methods to better track and identify targets.

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The Department of Defense (DOD) aims to develop better high-resolution and 3-D imaging technology to better identify and track long-range targets during combat or surveillance.

Through the Military Imaging and Surveillance Technology-Long Range (MIST-LR) program, the Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA) will develop new electro-optic sensing capabilities for both airborne and ground military vehicles that focus on long-range geometric and 3-D imaging, according to announcement at FedBizOpps.gov.

The new technology will be based on a number of imaging techniques, including computational imaging, synthetic-aperture imaging, digital holography, multi-static laser radar, and angle-resolved imaging based on light transport analysis, according to the announcement.

[ For how DARPA is applying imaging technology directly to the human eye, see DARPA Works On Virtual Reality Contact Lenses . ]

Through the MIST-LR program, DARPA aims to improve upon current limitations with optical imaging systems due to their size and range. To do this, the agency will develop new sensing methods to address a host of key imaging factors, including the physical aperture of the imaging receiver, the effects of atmospheric turbulence, performance of the receiver array, the power of the illumination source, and the image formation algorithms, the agency said.

DARPA will divide the program into three technical areas that will be designed and developed separately from each other. Each technical area will focus on a different platform and range, with different user scenarios and requirements, the agency said. However, there could be common factors among the three areas, and technology developed for each will be shared across the entire program.

Although the technical areas will be distinct, there will be commonalities between them. Each will have three phases: critical technology development and demonstration, laboratory systems demonstration, and prototype develop.

Moreover, each technical area will share the same system characteristics for the development of the technology, including: 2-D and 3-D image resolution; maximum relative target motion; image field of regard and range depth; image size and coverage range; target recognition; system size, weight and power requirements; and compensation of turbulence effects, among others.

DARPA expects to make multiple awards for the program, the value of which will be dependent upon the quality of the proposals received, according to the agency.

The agency will hold a proposer's day on Feb. 23 discuss the program and its requirements in greater detail.

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