Dynamically Controlled Agile Foveated Imaging System

Period of Performance: 01/01/2003 - 12/31/2003


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Boulder Nonlinear Systems, Inc.
Principal Investigator


Boulder Nonlinear Systems Inc. (BNS) proposes to use its expertise in liquid crystal spatial light modulators (SLMs) and optical phased arrays to investigate the development of a novel programmable lens for wide field of view agile imaging. The primary focus of the proposed effort will be to develop a compact optical system capable of foveated imaging, whereby, similar to the functioning of the human eye, a small region of high resolution imaging (fovea) is maintained in an otherwise low resolution field of view. The system, which employs a programmable phase array, will maintain enough information in the peripheral regions for target identification and will be capable of rapid millisecond switching of the fovea onto the target region. During the proposed Phase I study we will develop a bench top dynamically controlled prototype system to demonstrate the feasibility of the concept. The technology proposed here offers the potential for improved missile warning systems, and unmanned airborne surveillance systems which require compact optical systems with low bulk. By exploiting a programmable lens for wide field imaging, the need for many additional optical components, incurring extra bulk and weight, is reduced. The foveation of the image area translates into a greatly reduced image data stream and a consequently faster response and control capability.