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Scientific Imaging Extends IR Value
by Len Yencharis
Details uncovered by SWIR (Short Wave Infrared) of Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party reveal that the two men standing at the rear of the balcony were initially higher in the picture plane and that the man on the right originally looked outwards toward the viewer, according to Elizabeth Steele, Conservator at the Philips Collection in a published report. Sensors Unlimited donated the SWIR -based cameras for the art project.
More importantly, the underlying imagery detected by SWIR opens up a new world of opportunity for vendors such as Sensors Unlimited, but the problem is mainly one of educating the general public. There are no college courses, nor is there any way to learn the subject matter through a Google search. However, with a company such as Sensors Unlimited growing at a 50% CAGR rate, it becomes more a matter of finding the market needs as opposed to pushing technology into the marketplace.
Although SWIR has normally been associated with mostly military and security applications, it is beginning to find more opportunity in such diverse applications as process control and agricultural inspection. (See Advanced Imaging March 2004, page 22). Any problem that involves detection through frosted packaging on phamaceutical bottles or looking through tinted glass for violators of HOV traffic lanes are prime candidates for SWIR applications.
However, the military applications still get our attention.
For example, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and robots have become important scouting tools in reconnaissance missions for the military. UAVs currently come in many sizes from the very small such as Dragon Eye1, which can be deployed by two Marines, to the large such as Predator2, which can launch air-to-surface missiles.