Advanced Electro-Optical/InfraRed (EO/IR) Projector for Testing Imaging Sensors
SBIR FY03.2 Topic A03-064
Department of Defense (DoD)/ARMY - Army Test & Evaluation Center (ATEC)

The entire solicitation may be viewed at

A03-064 TITLE: Advanced Electro-Optical/InfraRed (EO/IR) Projector for Testing Imaging Sensors


ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PEO Simulation, Training and Instrumentation

OBJECTIVE: Development of an advanced electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) projector for simultaneous testing of multi-band sensor suites (containing visible sensor, Mid-Wave Infrared (IR) Forward Looking IR (FLIR) and Long-Wave IR FLIR). Complex scenes projected by the advanced EO/IR projector must have a large temperature range, high spatial resolution, high temperature resolution, and a highly correlated multi-band spectral output. The projector should be capable of testing both scanning and staring sensors. The spatial and temporal resolution should be sufficient to support testing of current and next generation visible and IR sensor/systems. The temperature/amplitude resolution should exceed the temperature resolution of these systems. It is also desired that the projector system be designed for mobile test applications and support testing of systems with sensor fusion algorithms. Such technology would be applicable to many commercial uses involving the development and testing of commercial visible and IR sensors used in homeland security, medical imaging, police/fire detection systems, collision avoidance systems and other property protection systems.

DESCRIPTION: One potential candidate projector technology for this application is the large format resistor array projector system. However, this technology alone can not support testing of sensors operating within the visible-spectrum since the spectral output is only suitable for sensors operating within the infrared-spectrum. These resistor array systems also suffer from other limitations including: limited spatial resolution (currently 512x512), spatial non-uniformity, dead pixels, limited frame rate, heat dissipation problems, and limited availability (relatively high cost).

Another potential candidate projector technology for this application is the micromirror array projector system. However, this technology is currently limited in application to staring (non-scanning) sensors and seekers due to the inherent reliance on pulse width modulation for the generation of intensity levels. It is also limited in amplitude resolution and contrast in the LWIR band.

An innovative approach is needed to overcome the limitations of these currently available projector technologies. The advanced EO/IR projector system developed under this effort should meet the following performance goals:

PHASE I: Perform a feasibility study of the development of an advanced EO/IR projector system which meets the specifications above. Evaluate innovative technologies which may be used to build and integrate the advanced EO/IR projector system and leverage existing projector technologies. Perform trade-off analysis to determine the best approach for each subsystem, and develop a preliminary design for the advanced EO/IR projector system. Perform modeling and analysis to establish the proof-of-principle and predict the performance specifications for the final system.

PHASE II: Develop a prototype advanced EO/IR projector system. Demonstrate the advanced projector technology and characterize its performance.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The advanced IR projector developed under this topic would provide an excellent test bed to support the development and testing of imaging EO/IR sensors used in both ground and aviation military platforms. The system could also be applicable to medical imaging, police surveillance, fire prevention/detection, auto collision avoidance systems and intrusion detection systems. Commercial applications for this technology might be found in the medical, law enforcement, fire, automobile, home security, and aircraft industries.

1) D. Brett Beasley and Daniel A. Saylor, "Application of Multiple IR Projector Technologies for AMCOM HWIL Simulations", Technologies for Synthetic Environments: Hardware-in-the-loop Testing IV, Robert L. Murrer, Jr., Chair/Editor, Proc. SPIE 3697, pp. 223 - 230. (1999).
2) B. Cole, B. Higashi, J. Ridley, J. Holmen, K. Newstrom, C. Zins, K. Nguyen, S. Weeres, B. Johnson, B. Stockbridge, L. Murrer, E. Olson, T. Bergin, J. Kircher, D. Flynn, "Innovations in IR Projection Arrays", Technologies for Synthetic Environments: Hardware-in-the-loop Testing V, Robert L. Murrer, Jr., Chair/Editor, Proc. SPIE 4027, pp. 350 - 376. (2000).
3) Steve McHugh, Richard Robinson, Bill Parish, Jim Woolaway, "MIRAGE: large-format emitter arrays 1024x1024 and 1024x2048", Technologies for Synthetic Environments: Hardware-in-the-loop Testing V, Robert L. Murrer, Jr., Chair/Editor, Proc. SPIE 4027, pp. 399 - 408. (2000).
4) D. Brett Beasley, Daniel Saylor, Jim Buford, "Overview of Dynamic Scene Projectors at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command", Technologies for Synthetic Environments: Hardware-in-the-loop Testing V, Robert L. Murrer, Jr., Chair/Editor, Proc. SPIE 4717, pp. 136 - 147. (2002).

KEYWORDS: Infrared, projector, sensor fusion, electro-optical, simulations

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