Data Fusion for Improved Acquisition, Tracking and Discrimination

Period of Performance: 09/18/2003 - 03/18/2004

$69.2K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Optellios, Inc.
250 Phillips Blvd , Suite 255
Ewing, NJ 08618
Principal Investigator

Abstract

The optical information content of a scene is encoded in intensity, spectral composition, and polarization of the light incident on the viewing sensor(s). There is an increased demand for using all available channels of information in imaging applications, to enable efficient detection and identification of various objects by human or machine vision. The multitude of information channels necessitates new approaches to fusion, delivery, interpretation, and exploitation of the optical sensor data. Although the benefits of polarization imaging have been demonstrated at the conceptual level, development and deployment of military operator-oriented polarization imaging products have been thwarted by the low speed of available prototype systems. This limitation results from the inherent requirement to perform and combine at least four intensity measurements in order to obtain complete polarization information. The focus of this proposal is to investigate and develop a novel imaging system architecture, which will allow the four intensity measurements to be performed in parallel. The core of the system will be a patterned multi-domain polarization analyzer module. This project will lay the groundwork of a real-time polarization imaging device, to be used to investigate different approaches to fusion and exploitation of the polarization data for targeting applications in the military. Polarization imaging is a promising technique that can distinguish objects normally obscured in low-contrast situations or in intensity-cluttered backgrounds. Since most man-made objects reflect a larger percentage of polarized light than natural objects, a polarization imaging device would be able to resolve an object from its natural background and could readily complement traditional imaging sensors, detectors, and devices that would otherwise be hampered in `noisy' environments. The capability to use polarization as an imaging technique is anticipated to have widespread commercial and military applications such as target identification and tracking, and identification of partially submerged landmines.