Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) cameras are excellent for capturing memories, but fail to capture daylight details in the dark, detect man-made substances in challenging conditions, or distinguish objects hidden from view.
Polaris’s personnel can field and develop systems providing both traditional scene and enhanced imagery that reveals details otherwise not detected. This industry’s unique enhanced imagery capability is delivered with algorithms, software, and hardware, enabling our customers to see more clearly than ever before.
We offer a wide range of sensors, see below, that provide many applications. Currently, the most sought after sensors are Pyxis®, SkyPASS®, and non-incendiary obscurants. Pyxis® comes in LWIR, SWIR, and now visible with applications ranging from detecting oil on water to background clutter suppression. SkyPASS® is unique in that it’s not a typical imager: it detects the polarization of the sky to determine heading. Our non-imager CoolSmoke® produces large smoke clouds without an incendiary reaction.
Long-Wave InfraRed (LWIR) thermal imagers have proven their use in a variety of commercial and military applications to improve detection, recognition, and identification of objects and people. Polarization has proven to be up to four times more effective than LWIR imagery alone. Polarization-enhanced imagers strengthen the warfighter’s ability to acquire and track hard to see targets from a multitude of platforms. These imagers also better remotely identify disturbed earth, which assists in detecting man-made objects that are buried. Commercial and military applications for a LWIR polarizing imager include object detection, security, surveillance, facial recognition, and autonomous vehicle navigation / collision avoidance.
Many people think all products that see in the infrared as being night vision or thermal imagers, but different wavelengths of infrared light can be used for different tasks. The difference between Mid-Wave InfraRed (MWIR) and Long-Wave InfraRed (LWIR) is that MWIR has both reflective and emissive properties; whereas, LWIR consists primarily of emitted radiation. There are three main advantages of MWIR over the active IR band. First, MWIR imagery can be acquired without any external illumination in day or night environments, while regions in the active IR band might require an external light source. Second, vein patterns (or other anatomical features) not observable in the active IR spectrum can be observable in MWIR. Finally, background clutter in MWIR images is not always visible. For example, the texture of a wall will not usually be visible if it is uniform and has the same surface temperature signature. Thus, when operating in the MWIR band, the tasks of face detection, localization, and segmentation—fundamental processes of typical facial recognition systems are comparatively easier and more reliable than inactive IR and visible bands.
Short-Wave InfraRed (SWIR) imaging polarimetry has demonstrated significant improvement over conventional imaging for many different mission areas including target detection, discrimination, and tracking in both land and maritime environments. In fact, researchers have applied imaging polarimetry to a number of applications including detection of disturbed earth, objects or swimmers in water, target with background clutter, and objects during thermal cross-over periods. SWIR band polarimetry has been recently applied to these applications as well as discrimination between materials for Identification of Friend or Foe (IFF). As the utility of SWIR imaging polarimetry is demonstrated in an ever-widening application space, more warfighter program offices are beginning to evaluate the technology for inclusion into their specific platform. The growing application space for SWIR imaging polarimetry is increasing the demand for commercially available products, and Polaris is here to meet that need.
The visible spectrum is any wavelength of light that can be seen, unaided, by the human eye. Visible light cameras are used for general purpose photography and videography but are only effective when used in well-lit areas. One major advantage of visible light cameras is that they have become much more advanced since they have been around much longer than IR cameras. Polarization of visible light has several applications from polarized sunglasses and 3D glasses to applications in geology, chemistry, and astronomy.
Finding objects of interest in a complex, cluttered scene can be challenging when limited to a single waveband. Multispectral polarimetric imagers enhance system performance by providing polarization enhanced imagery in multiple wavelengths. The additional sensing modes offered by these multispectral systems provide useful imagery in situations where standard single band imagers fail. Polaris leverages several decades of phenomenology studies and technology developed for the US military, government labs, small businesses, university researchers, and large prime contractors to produce multispectral polarimetric imagers to solve this problem. Polaris works closely with the customer to design a multispectral imaging polarimeter that provides a multitude of useful sensing modalities in a single highly-integrated system. By selecting the appropriate sensing mode, multispectral polarimetric imagers provide advantages over current thermal imagers in visualization, camouflage detection, image clutter rejection, and imaging in low thermal contrast conditions.
Hyperspectral imaging has applications in a broad range of fields including defense, biomedical imaging, surveillance, quality control, agriculture, atmospheric sciences and others. Polaris has experience developing enhanced hyperspectral imagers through the addition of polarimetric sensing. Polaris has developed user-friendly software to analyze and display the inherently complex hyperspectral polarimetric data in an intuitive, user-friendly manner. Polaris works closely with the customer to design hyperspectral polarimetric imaging systems tailored to specific sensing needs in a single highly-integrated system.
Polaris is best known for its expansive suite of polarimeters, but we have undertaken several successful endeavors into non-imaging technologies. SkyPASS® is a highly accurate sky polarization and azimuth sensing system that can be used to provide absolute position and pose even in GPS denied environments. CoolSmoke® is a flameless, sparkless, non-pyrotechnic smoke grenade that uses a patented formula to create a dense cloud of smoke to obscure the vision of an adversary. FlameIR Detector is a sensor designed to find and detect flames rather than just heat by using a flame discrimination algorithm.