Precision Targeting

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

$99.8K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

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

Abstract

Threat assessment and weapon guidance involve the highly complex tasks of target detection, identification, and tracking. Light intensity imaging has long been used for targeting purposes; however, its effectiveness is limited in detrimental conditions, such as low light, low contrast, or intensity clutter. Polarization imaging, on the other hand, can be used to enhance contrast under low-light conditions, as well as to create contrast between different materials. Although these 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 currently available prototype systems. This speed limitation is a consequence of 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 the investigation and development of a novel imaging system architecture, which will allow the four intensity measurements to be performed in parallel. The core of the proposed system will be a patterned multi-domain polarization analyzer module. A real-time polarization imaging device will be developed by integration of the polarization analyzer into an off-the-shelf camera platform. 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 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, identification of partially submerged landmines, industrial quality control, as well as in a variety of biomedical applications.