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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Infrared Cameras

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Product Update

Infrared Cameras

by Rich Handley

March 2003

An infrared camera, as AI readers know, is a non-contact device built for the detection and conversion of infrared energy into an electronic signal. Once processed, this signal produces a thermal image on a video monitor, where temperature calculations can be performed. Heat sensed by an infrared camera can be quantified or measured, allowing users not only to monitor thermal performance, but also to identify and evaluate the relative severity of heat-related problems. Innovations in detector technology, as well as the incorporation of built-in visual imaging, automatic functionality and infrared software development, have resulted in more cost-effective thermal analysis solutions than ever before. The new products profiled below are but a small sampling...



First up is the Light Thermal Weapon Sight (LTWS) from BAE Systems (Nashua, NH), recently tested by soldiers in the U.S. Army's Dismounted Battlespace Battle Lab at Fort Benning, GA. The LTWS is an infrared targeting system allowing combat forces to acquire and engage targets with small arms weapons-both day and night-under adverse conditions. Designed for use by unit leaders in surveillance and fire control, the LTWS lets weapons operators detect, recognize and engage targets in all visibility conditions. Mounted on the M4 and M16 series weapons and the M136 AT-4, the LTWS can be employed in light, airborne, air assault, ranger and mechanized infantry squads.

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Raytheon's Thermal Security Camera.Pan-European specialist distributor BFi OPTiLAS (Evry, France) is offering four new IR-related products. The first is a new family of thermal security camera products from Raytheon Commercial Infrared. Using infrared thermal imaging technology, the camera allows users to detect objects and movements invisible to traditional security cameras-even in complete darkness and difficult weather conditions-offering enhanced visibility over great distance without illumination. The camera utilizes a new type of detector called an amorphous silicon microbolometer and is designed to plug into existing closed circuit television security systems. The thermal security camera can be dropped in as a CCTV replacement, providing a broader viewing range without the need for obtrusive lighting.

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The SpcterIR, from ELCAN.Next up from BFi OPTiLAS is a thermal weapon sight from ELCAN Optical Technologies, designed for police and security applications. ELCAN's SpecterIR uses heat imaging technology previously only available for military apps, allowing for "see-in-the-dark" infrared capability. Shock- and water-resistant, the SpecterIR enables the detection and acquisition of moving man-sized objects beyond 200 meters. This weapon sight can also detect targets among their surroundings based entirely on heat signatures. The SpecterIR comes with a video output port for an external display or video recorder, while an optional wireless video link facilitates remote viewing.

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BFi OPTiLAS is also distributing the DI-5000 Thermal Imager, a system from Digital Infrared Imaging designed for mid-range perimeter and security surveillance. The DI-5000 is a night-and-day video surveillance platform with one thermal imager and one visible video camera bore-sighter on a motorized pan-and-tilt platform. This lightweight infrared real-time thermal imaging system operates in the 8-14µm spectral range and can be mounted on vehicles or buildings. Based on un-cooled microbolometer focal plane array technology, the DI-5000 is bundled with proprietary software allowing owners to utilize many different infrared sensors.

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