Imaging dominates Defense & Security Symposium

In the shuttle on the way to the first day of the SPIE Defense & Security Symposium, Yun Zhang, associate professor at the University of Brunswick (Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada), was eager to share his enthusiasm about the paper he was going to present: “Anomaly detection of stationary targets in pan-sharpened IKONOS imagery.

ORLANDO, FL - In the shuttle on the way to the first day of the SPIE Defense & Security Symposium, Yun Zhang, associate professor at the University of Brunswick (Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada), was eager to share his enthusiasm about the paper he was going to present: “Anomaly detection of stationary targets in pan-sharpened IKONOS imagery.” The presentation defined an algorithm for combining high-resolution black and white satellite images with low-resolution hyperspectral images, and Zhang said he was anxious to see the results from similar work being done in this area by his peers, noting the competitive atmosphere surrounding the show this year.

The SPIE Defense & Security Symposium (March 28-April 1) is indeed growing in size compared to previous years. Preliminary attendance figures from Stacey Crockett, media relations for SPIE, were 5200 to 5300 individuals-up more than 13% compared to last year. In addition, 300 exhibitors were registered.

With a historical focus on sensors and imaging, this year’s conference tracks included Technologies for Homeland Security and Law Enforcement, IR Sensors and Systems Engineering, Tactical Sensors and Imagers, Laser Sensors and Systems, Displays, Intelligent and Unmanned Systems, and Sensor Data Exploitation and Target Recognition, among others.

The target-recognition conference stretched over all five days of the symposium and included multiple presentations on imaging and detection for hostile environments. Equinox Corporation (Baltimore, MD) displayed a sensor that combines visual and IR images to produce a “fused” single-image result. Hyperspectral and multispectral imaging continues to be a major focus of the conference and exhibits.

Infrared sensing has always been a dominant theme of the symposium, a fact that has not changed as evidenced by the high attendance at the Infrared Technology and Applications conference. Raytheon presented paper 5783-35, “3rd Gen FPA development status at Raytheon Vision Systems,” to a standing-room only crowd of more than 100 people, according to SPIE science and technology strategist Ron Scotti. In the presentation, Raytheon detailed developments in 640X480 and 1280X720 IR focal plane arrays.

In the competitive IR imaging market, one company with a reported international market share of 50% for military-grade mercury-cadmium-telluride (HgCdTe) IR sensors according to president & CEO Philippe Bensussan, is SOFRADIR (Chatenay-Malabray, France). SOFRADIR introduced their Venus and Pluton high-performance IR sensors for military vision applications. Venus is a cost-reduced, small-size, lower power consumption 384X288 long-wave cooled IR detector staring array, while Pluton is a 288X4 scanning array with similar performance enhancements, allowing customers to gain better performance or similar performance to older generation sensors while reducing size and complexity.

In addition to IR sensors, several companies displayed their newest IR system and camera products, including CEDIP Infrared Systems (Croissy-Beaubourg, France) with their JADE long-range camera with geographical cartography computer software for the mid-wave IR region, and BAE Systems (Basildon, United Kingdom) with the long-wave version of their SiGMA thermal imaging camera core. A special exhibit-hall demonstration featured OPGAL Optronic’s (Karmiel, Israel) EYE-SPEED 300 high frame rate (300 frames/sec) mid-wave IR camera, for military and industrial, but also for laboratory use in applications including pulsed laser measurements.

Judging by the exhibit presence of former telecommunications-centric companies such as DiCon, Fibercore, IPG Photonics, and JDSU, the feeling from the show is that researchers and suppliers are optimistic about continued domestic and international funding for the technologies that are improving homeland security.

Gail Overton

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