Camouflage is designed to fool visible light sensors as well as the human eye by making an object blend into the surrounding area. Classic infrared thermal sensors may also be fooled if the camouflaged object is the same temperature as the background clutter.
Polarization-enhanced thermal imagery can drastically increase the contrast levels between camouflaged objects and background clutter. Furthermore, with Pyxis® technology users can combine the polarized image with the thermal image and add a colored overlay to identify objects of interest regardless of military or non-military nature.
- Infrared sensor that delivers daylight detail at night.
- Smart detection software to separate and identify manmade objects.
- Color fused display to allow the user to further visualize objects in an image.
Pyxis with its eTherm® software exploits a key property of light, called polarization. By measuring and combining the polarization of light from each pixel in a scene with the thermal image, Polaris’ sensors can detect objects of interest where standard imaging technologies fail. Polarization exploits a fundamental phenomenon of light to reveal detail, contrast, and other data undetected by standard thermal imaging devices. Thermal polarimetric sensing does not rely on external illumination allowing this sensor to work well in situations where infrastructure resources are limited or restricted. Polarization also persists across all infrared, visible, and ultraviolet bands of light.
How eTherm Works
eTherm Technology allows you to see the world differently. This capability is useful for detecting man-made objects against natural clutter. In the image to the left, a park scene is observed from an aerial platform. In the scene, there is a number of metal plates which have been camouflaged both visible and thermally. The data product shown is what you would see from a standard thermal camera.
Without prior knowledge of the object placement, it is nearly impossible to determine the number and location of the metal plates. Note that while we are observing plates in this example, the technology is transferable to other metal or manmade objects. This sensing modality is robust against camouflage, canopy obscuration, shadows, and can operate in day/night.
How many metal plates are in the scene?
Try eTherm. Hover over the image now to find strong negative contrast signature for the five metal plates. In addition, a dynamic threshold and segmentation algorithm has been applied to highlight these threats to the user. In this example, these metal plates are harmless, but most threats in the military world are metallic and/or manmade and are sometimes difficult to spot against the natural background using standard visible and thermal (or night-vision) devices. Thus, eTherm is an attractive solution to many military threat detection problems.
The above image is how we at Polaris typically view eTherm (and how an automated detection algorithm would identify threats), but we have found that real-world operators like to have a fused dataset to help visualize the world. Because of this need, Polaris has developed VectorColor, a technology which helps you see the world as we do. VectorColor works by fusing both the thermal (or visible) image with the eTherm data product, with the standard data product given in black/white and eTherm provided as a color enhancement. The technique is shown in the example below.
Again, the same thermal image is shown of the park. However, when you hover over the image, notice how color is added to the black/white scene, adding enhanced significance to the manmade threats. Thus, the thermal content (light post, trees, bench) is still available, but the targets are highlighted using color as the attention grabber instead of negative contrast. The threat contrast is maintained in this VectorColor data product.
Both eTherm and VectorColor were developed by Polaris primarily for military threat detection. However, there are many commercial applications which may make use of these solutions. The areas of navigation (detecting obstacles in the roadway), surveillance, and security are specific business areas which Polaris is expanding its eTherm and VectorColor technologies. See the navigation, surveillance, and reconnaissance, or safety and security pages for more information. Or, contact Polaris today for more information about how eTherm or VectorColor can help you see things that others cannot.