Biologically-inspired Integrated Vision System

Period of Performance: 07/23/2014 - 10/07/2016


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Spectral Imaging Laboratory
2130 E Walnut Stret
Pasadena, CA -
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

University of Arizona
888 N Euclid Ave
Tucson, AZ 85721
Institution POC


ABSTRACT: The U.S. Air Force has a need to develop a new class of advanced, wide field of view (WFOV) imaging sensors that sample the radiation field in multiple modes: spectral, temporal, polarization, and detailed object shape. These multimodal sensors are to be deployed on high altitude drones to enhance their intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. Smaller versions of the sensor are to be integrated with autonomous micro-air vehicles (MAV) to provide guidance, navigation, control and motion detection information within cluttered environments. The Spectral Imaging Laboratory (SPILAB) has teamed with the University of Arizona's Department of Neuroscience and College of Optical Sciences to develop two types of bio-inspired multimodal sensors, one operating in the visible wavelength regime and the other operating in the infrared wavelength regime. The visible sensor couples a WFOV compound array optical system to a division of focal plane polarimeter with 4 types of broadband, elliptical micro-polarizers designed to optimally sample the Stokes vector. The infrared sensor couples a cryo-cooled infrared focal plane to a WFOV compound array optical system with a foveal region that can be used for multi-spectral, multi-polarization imaging. Both sensors will have a neuromorphic processing capability designed on the basis of known functional connections in the visual brain areas of insects and crotalid snakes. The integrated system is expected to provide high-speed motion detection, targeted distance information and camouflage deciphering against a cluttered background in daylight or darkness. BENEFIT: The proposed multimodal integrated vision system can provide the US Air Force with enhanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities on various aircraft. The wide angle optics coupled to a fast neuromorphic focal plane can enhance the guidance, navigation and control of seekers and autonomous vehicles. The infrared multi-spectral polarimeter can be used for detecting buried improvise explosive devices (IEDs). Commercial applications include surveillance, robotics, machine vision, and high end automobile collision avoidance systems, which can benefit from motion sensing, autonomous navigation, and distortion free, wide angle viewing without the need for focus adjustment.