Security conscious

According to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), an industry group, the economic benefits of integrating unmanned aerial systems into the US national airspace will be substantial. Applications include law enforcement and search and rescue, but will be primarily agricultural—as they have been since 1990 in Japan. Although a federal law enacted last year paved the way for such drones to be used in the US, the idea of large or small drones with camera-bearing payloads in civilian airspace leaves many people with privacy concerns.

Our cover story by Chris Johnston at HoodTech Vision looks at this topic from an engineering perspective—specifically, how to design imaging payloads that meet the new federal guidelines for small unmanned aerial vehicles (see page 29). Weight limitations are the biggest challenge to creating a payload that contains both visible and infrared imaging systems.

This issue also looks at defense and security technology in the form of green laser "dazzlers," which, as contributing editor Jeff Hecht writes, are part of an arsenal of nonlethal weapons that could reduce civilian casualties in combat zones and block attacks on checkpoints, convoys, and ships (see page 45). More articles on defense and security can be found on our web site in our new Defense & Security topic center. The articles appearing in this topic center include many stories on electro-optics news and technology shared by our sister publication Military & Aerospace Electronics.

Finally, considering the importance of healthcare to personal and societal security, we have an article on breath analysis from Daylight Solutions (see page 35). As the article makes clear, clinicians now have reason to be excited by the new photonics-based breath-analysis instruments coming to market. These tools can identify the hundreds of different molecular species in exhaled breath, which can indicate disease and provide a new measure of security for all of us.

W. Conard Holton
Associate Publisher/
Editor in Chief

cholton@pennwell.com

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