Polaris Sensor Technologies has assembled a staff of specialists in the fields of polarimetry, optics, electro-optics, and optomechanical design. Combined, our team provides a wide range of expertise to our customers. Whether we are developing sensors for the 21st Century Warfighter, designing systems to keep pedestrians safe, formulating low-temperature obscurants, detecting fires, or measuring fuel additives, we continually evolve to meet our own explications in delivering state-of-the-art services.

Data Collection & Analysis

Data Collection & AnalysisBeing sensor experts, we are often called on to support our customers in a variety of data collection and analysis exercises. This may include the collection of calibrated laboratory data, an outdoor collection of data from our facilities overlooking downtown Huntsville, “around the town and on the move” data collection, or customer sponsored field tests around the globe. Polaris has supported a large number of field tests for our customers including ARL, ONR, AFRL, MDA, JIEDDO, DOE, CERDEC, AMCOM and OSLI. Our staff has experience in configuring and operating a large number of sensors under high-stress situations in a variety of operational environments in order to capture target data ranging from tanks, ships and missiles to pedestrian traffic, automobiles, oil spills and even wildlife.

 

Our capabilities include:

  • Field test organization and planning
  • Data collection setup and execution
  • Data analysis and results summary
  • Dynamic target tracking
  • Sensor hardening (extreme heat, high winds, high humidity, low temperatures, noisy environments)
  • Automated data collection

PCB Design

pcb designPolaris’ electrical engineering staff has a broad range of PCB design capabilities which are applicable to both sensor applications and other markets. Our engineers use SPICE for circuit modeling and Altium for schematic capture and layout.

Polaris’ core competency within PCB design involves the following circuits:

    • Camera Link, SD, SPI, I2C, JTAG interfaces
    • Microprocessors (including NXP, Freescale, and TI)
    • Field Programmable Gate Arrays (primarily Altera)
    • Random Access Memory (SRAM, SDRAM)
    • Analog to digital converters
    • Detector readout electronics
    • DC power supply and regulator
    • Connectors and button peripherals
    • NTSC analog video circuitry
    • Thermal mitigation

Prototype Sensor Development

Sensor prototyping has been one of Polaris’ primary business areas for over 10 years. Today, our prototyping process starts with a scientist and systems engineer who work together to define the concept (or concepts) that best meet the customer’s requirements. As the concept matures additional optical, mechanical, electrical, and/or software engineers are tasked as needed to conduct a custom design and to transition that design into a system that best meets the customer’s needs. Throughout the process, Polaris works closely with the customer to ensure the best possible performance within the program’s budget. Our customer base for sensor prototypes is broad and includes all the military branches, the Departments of Energy, Transportation, and Homeland Security, the FBI and Intelligence Community, government research laboratories, universities, prime contractors, and various commercial industries. Our team has the knowledge and capability to design and build a wide range of sensor prototypes for whatever the application.

Within the area of sensor prototyping, our core competencies include:

  • Polarimetry
  • Multi-spectral
  • Broadband Visible, NIR, SWIR, MWIR, LWIR, wavebands
  • Stereo cameras
  • Sensor miniaturization

Image Processing Algorithms

tracking algorithmA subset of Polaris’ software group is an algorithm development team consisting of physicists, electrical and software engineers, and optical scientists. This team solves difficult image processing problems with novel algorithms implemented in higher-order languages (Matlab and Mathematica) and then converted into efficient, higher speed lower level code. The development team works closely with our software group to create algorithms that are optimized for real-time applications that suit our customer’s needs.

Our image processing experience includes:

  • High-pass and low-pass filtering
  • Radiometric and polarimetric processing
  • Spectral filtering and color analysis
  • Signal-to-noise ratio optimization
  • Kalman filtering and EKF/UKF variants
  • Particle filtering
  • Simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM)
  • Stereo vision and ranging
  • Edge, corner, and feature detection
  • Target detection and tracking
  • Optical flow
  • Background subtraction
  • Morphological functions
  • Path and roadway identification
  • Obstacle detection and avoidance
  • Threat identification
  • Dynamic and statistical thresholding
  • Statistical modeling

Software Development

software developmentPolaris utilizes an in-house software team to develop all sensor software and algorithms for its products and solutions. With a wealth of knowledge across the defense and commercial industries, Polaris’ core software team is experienced with developing unique, new software products, implementing and optimizing prototyped algorithms (e.g. Matlab) into FPGAs and microcontrollers, and working directly with electrical, mechanical, and optical components.

Our team of software engineers and programmers have experience with a wide variety of platforms and languages, including:

  • FPGA firmware development (Verilog)
  • Embedded software development (C, Assembly, C++)
  • Windows software development (C++, C#)
  • Matlab code integration and conversion
  • Algorithm implementation and optimization (for C, C++, and C#)
  • Unix, Linux, Windows, and real-time operating systems
  • GUI design and implementation
  • Hardware communication and control (motors, stages, detectors, GPS, IMU, coolers, etc.)
  • Software architecture design and documentation
  • Imaging processing algorithm design and optimization (for FPGAs and real-time systems)

Contact us today for a quote on a custom software solution from our software staff.

Calibration and Characterization

Thermal ImagerIn order to effectively deliver quality imaging systems, Polaris carefully calibrates and characterizes each of our sensor products before they are shipped to our customers. Polaris has developed a series of precise techniques for calibrating a wide range of optical sensor systems. In particular, our staff has developed processes to calibrate the following types of sensors:

  • Cameras (Visible, LW, MW, SW)
  • Stereo camera systems
  • Multi-spectral imagers
  • Polarimeters
  • Optics (polarizers, filters, lenses, windows, cold plates)
  • Thermal systems

Our skills for calibrating these types of sensors include:

  • Detector performance characterization
  • Noise measurement (SNR calculation)
  • Stray light measurement
  • Distortion correction/removal
  • Detector alignment
  • Image registration
  • Non-uniformity correction
  • Polarimetric calibration
  • Radiometric calibration

Optical Design Systems

Polaris has extensive experience in the design and modeling of optical systems that operate across the Visible, NIR, SWIR, MWIR, and LWIR portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Our staff includes optical scientists and engineers with many years of experience in lens design and ray tracing software (Optics Studio®/ZEMAX®) as well as in the development of physical optics propagation models. Polaris has created lens design solutions for a wide range of complex systems, including divided aperture, hyperspectral, multispectral, and polarimetric systems. Polaris’ optical design team provide the following capabilities for meeting your commercial or military requirements:

  • Custom lens design
  • Optical modeling and simulation
  • Optical sensor design
  • Light scattering measurements and modeling
  • Stray light analysis and mitigation
  • Optical component bonding
  • Multiple wavebands
  • Spectral analysis
  • Polarimeter architectures

System Development From Concept to Design, From Modeling and Analysis to Prototyping

  • Requirements definition
  • Concept development
    • Commercial Off the Shelf components assessment
    • Custom components design
  • Modeling and analysis
    • Optical-optical design, performance analysis, optimization
    • Mechanical – solid modeling, finite element analysis, cryo performance
    • Electronic – circuit and board design and layout, SPICE modeling
    • Phenomenology– physics-based and empirical signatures
  • Prototype development
    • Breadboard
    • Field test-ready
    • Pre-production prototyping