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Thermal Imaging

Front view of The Thermoteknix VisIR 640 Thermal Imaging Camera.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the target market for high-end thermal imaging cameras like the VisIR 640 from Thermoteknix, but I want one anyway. I want it in the same way that I desperately wanted the X-ray specs advertised on the back of my Iron Man comics when I was 12. In this case, the object of my boyish compulsion features a 640 x 480 infrared sensor, integrated voice recorder, 1.3megapixel color camera, plus an innovative swiveling lens design which provides greater shooting flexibility, and like many examples of ex-military tech, it opens up a huge range of potential applications on civvy street.  Read More

RIWEA hoists itself up the rotor blade of a wind turbine

Wind turbines, predominantly constructed from glass fiber reinforced plastics, are vulnerable to fractures and flaws that can be impossible for the human eye to detect - and even the cracks visible to humans can often only be spotted in a time-consuming and dangerous examination. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute say that their latest robot creation, RIWEA, can solve both problems to increase the overall efficiency of the wind energy system.  Read More

FLIR PathFindIR aftermarket thermal imaging system for cars and motorcycles

January 11, 2009 Though only 10% of road miles are driven at night, those miles account for half all road fatalities. Using public roads is a sight response game you play with your own and others’ lives, so being able to improve your night vision will clearly increase safety for everyone. We’ve written about the coming of Mercedes' NightVision Assist for several years now – the system is based around a thermal night vision camera which sees heat, not light, and hence enables you to see the things that count, well beyond the range of the headlights. FLIR is the company Mercedes partnered with on the project and it has now released the PathFindIR system as an aftermarket accessory for cars and motorcycles.  Read More

QinetiQ fire response team

December 5, 2007 QinetiQ has developed specialized remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) with fire fighting capabilities that can operate in environments that would be unsafe for firefighters. Currently undergoing a six month trial commissioned by Network Rail and the London Fire Brigade, the vehicles are designed to combat the specific issue of fires close to railway tracks that involve Acetylene cylinders - a problem that has been on the rise in the past year causing major delays to commuters.  Read More

BAE to develop next-generation night-vision goggles

September 25, 2007 U.S. army soldiers will be the recipients of enhanced night vision goggles that use digital imagery to improve mobility and situational awareness under all lighting conditions, overcoming battlefield obscurants that would generally hinder vision. Under development by BAE systems as part of the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle program for the U.S. defense forces the helmet-mounted system will digitally combine video imagery from a low-light-level visible sensor and an uncooled long-wave infrared sensor onto a single color display located in front of the soldier's eye.  Read More

The next-generation missile warning system

November 26, 2005 The team developing the United States's next-generation missile warning system has completed preparations to enable the payload for the first Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) geosynchronous orbit (GEO) satellite to begin engineering thermal vacuum testing. The SBIRS GEO payload consists of a scanning sensor and a staring sensor, with sensor pointing achieved by the spacecraft's Pointing Control Assembly (PCA). The scanning sensor is designed for continuous observation and surveillance of traditional intercontinental ballistic missile threats, while the staring sensor is designed to detect very low signature, short-burn-duration theatre missiles. The staring sensor recently completed its flight-acceptance test. One of the most significant program milestones, thermal vacuum testing verifies the payload functionality and performance in a vacuum environment, where the payload is stressed at temperature extremes greater than those expected during on-orbit operations. The baseline ambient functional tests as well as radiometric tests will be repeated in this "test-it-like-it-flies" environment with the infrared sensors at their cryogenic operating temperatures.  Read More

U.S. Army invests US$22 million in next-generation thermal weapon sights

October 16, 2005 All objects emit infrared energy or heat, and this energy can be viewed with an infrared lens designed to create a thermogram, or picture, of the environment, regardless the amount of light. Although objects in a scene can be the same temperature, they often appear to be different temperatures, due to the way they emit infrared energy. Variations in the energy that objects emit create a detailed temperature map of a scene that easily can be interpreted by the viewer. Accordingly, it’s not surprising that the U.S. Army is investing US$22 million with thermal imaging specialists DRS technologies to produce next-generation Medium Weapon Thermal Weapon Sights (TWS II) for U.S. Marine Corps applications.  Read More

Firelidar enables first responders to see through glass and flame

September 24, 2005 Tests on FireLidar, a new portable lidar (light detection and ranging) system developed by US Navy research, show it enables first responders the ability to see through glass and flame - a capability unavailable on the market today. The left side image was taken without FireLidar while the image on right shows a photo of a child in a firefighter outfit which is clearly visible through the glass and flame. This potentially life-saving technology has numerous military and peacetime search and rescue applications in that it enables the user to see through fire, smoke, glass (windows), water/steam, fog, and other similar environmental conditions.  Read More

NightConqueror Thermal Imager to Be Installed on U.S. Navy's Fastest Ship

September 14, 2005 Thermal imaging goes way beyond infrared imaging in most situations and it's not surprising that the US Navy will be using advanced thermal imaging in its next generation of warship. The fastest ship in the US Navy is the Sea Fighter FSF-1, which can operate at speeds greater than 50 knots and has a range of approximately 4,000 nautical miles. The Sea Fighter is currently being fitted with an advanced NightConqueror thermal imager. The produces unmatched high-resolution thermal imagery for 24-hour observation in degraded weather conditions (smoke and obscurants). Sea Fighter, previously known as Littoral Surface Craft Experimental or "X-Craft," will be used to evaluate the hydrodynamic performance, structural behavior, mission flexibility and propulsion system efficiency of high-speed vessels. Sea Fighter will also serve as a test bed for developmental mission packages and as a risk reduction experimental vessel for the Littoral Combat Ship and Deepwater Program concepts of operation development at sea.  Read More

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