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21 Aug 13. FLIR, a manufacturer of infrared sensors, has married a smartphone to its state-of-the-art thermal camera in a concept it displayed at last week’s Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) expo in Washington, D.C. The idea behind the eye-catching device, CEO Andrew Teich says, is to demonstrate the company’s new line of miniature Quark camera cores. But he does not rule out the possibility of turning the prototype into a real consumer gadget and giving consumers the chance to take IR pictures with their phones. That depends on whether FLIR can get high tech and low prices to meet halfway.
The company began rolling out Quark in the spring of 2011 as a follow-on to its Tau infrared series, which has been used on small drones such as the Army’s RQ-11 Raven. The new Quark core measures just three-quarters of an inch thick and comes in a range of resolutions, the most powerful being 640 x 480, or 0.3 megapixels. Of course, none of the Quark camera cores will produce glossy, nighttime portraits you’d frame and hang in your living room. Still, Teich says, a 0.3-megapixel core with a 9-mm lens, like the one fitted into the camera-phone sled shown at AUVSI, “can spot a person at about 300 yards.” The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has shown great interest in thermal imagers small enough to fit in helmets, eyeglasses, rifle sights, minidrones, and cellphones. In Sept. 2011, it awarded more than $13m in contracts to Raytheon, DRS, and BAE Systems to produce such cameras in two years. FLIR has used its DARPA funds (taken from a different pot) to ruggedize its prototype for military users. However, the sled at the show is a commercial demonstrator—a configuration designed to impress, Teich says, “because the Quark is running off a very small battery, and it’s imaging in a very small space, and no one else has ever done this before.” Thermal-imaging smartphones might seem a tad indulgent to the average person. But guided by its “Infrared Everywhere” mantra, FLIR has had success with pioneering unlikely markets. Take boating, where today people use infrared cameras for nighttime excursions. “We went to the marine market in 2006, and back then no one was putting thermal cameras on recreational boats,” Teich says. “Today we have a marine electronics division that’s a $50m business.” (Source: UAS VISION/Popular Mechanics)
22 Aug 13. Chess Dynamics announces the launch of Sea Eagle FCRO, a new naval radar and electro optical fire control system. Sea Eagle FCRO (Fire Control Radar Optic) is an advanced radar and electro optical fire control system designed specifically for the control of naval guns against air, surface and shore targets. The system provides 24 hour, all weather detection, acquisition, tracking and engagement of air and surface targets through the use of advanced FMCW (Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave) Doppler radar. Target identification and passive surveillance are provided by a thermal imager and daylight TV camera. Sea Eagle FCRO has been designed from the outset to achieve the critical balance between price and performance. It offers a combination of performance, which is normally only achieved by more expensive systems, and innovative features, that simplify operation whilst stretching the performance envelope.
• FMCW Doppler radar provides long range acquisition and precision tracking of multiple targets
• The radar has low probability of intercept and high resistance to ECM through very low transmitted power and frequency agility
• 24 hour target identification by long range thermal imager and daylight TV camera
• Automated slewing to search radar contact indications
• Automatic target acquisition and tracking in both radar and EO
• Anti-air, anti-surface, naval gunfire support direct and naval gun