USA flag logo/image

An Official Website of the United States Government

Biologically-inspired low light integrated vision systems

Award Information

Agency:
Department of Defense
Branch:
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2013 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
F12B-T03-0067
Solicitation Year:
2012
Solicitation Topic Code:
AF12-BT03
Solicitation Number:
2012.B
Small Business Information
Centeye, Inc.
4905 Reno Road NW Washington, DC -
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
 
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2013
Title: Biologically-inspired low light integrated vision systems
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: FA8651-13-M-0087
Award Amount: $149,999.00
 

Abstract:

ABSTRACT: Our objective is to develop a vision system for a micro air vehicle (MAV) or other robotic system that allows it to operate in extremely low light levels. We will develop systems capable of operating in ambient light or with active illumination carried aboard the vehicle, and will explore both silicon-based sensors for the visible/NIR band and hybridized sensors for the SWIR and/or MWIR bands. The image sensors will comprise capacitive transimpedance amplifer driven photodetectors and/or single photon avalanche diode devices, and biologically inspired pooling mechanisms to extract spatiotemporal features from the visual field. We will draw inspiration on integrated sensing and processing methods from the visual systems of nocturnal insects, who navigate in light levels on the order of several photons per photoreceptor per second. We will also explore use of statistics and information theoretic measures to optimally detect visual features, optical flow patterns, and ultimately egomotion and the presence of targets of interest. In Phase I we will conduct a feasibility study in which we explore signal processing techniques and sensor architecture concepts, and select a semiconductor material for making a hybridized infrared sensor. We will build a prototype system in Phase II. BENEFIT: The resulting visual systems will enable air vehicles and robotic platforms in general to operate in extremely low light levels on the order of tens of photons per pixel per second or less. The final system will be light enough for use on micro- or nano-air vehicles. Sample anticipated applications include: 1) Enabling air or ground vehicles to operate stealthily in an indoor environment, including deep inside caves, tunnels, pipes, or other structures. 2) Enabling air vehicles to operate at night, using only starlight or airglow for ambient illumination, including underneath forest canopies or deep in urban canyons. 3) Providing see-and-avoid capabilities to a UA (unmanned aircraft) operating at night. 4) Stealthy operation in pure dark environments, by allowing active illumination with only a minimal amount of illumination provided by the platform. We anticipate the resulting technology to be useful to both the military, especially special forces, and civilian customers.

Principal Investigator:

Geoffrey L. Barrows
President
(202) 238-9545
geof@centeye.com

Business Contact:

Geoffrey L. Barrows
President
(202) 238-9545
geof@centeye.com
Small Business Information at Submission:

Centeye, Inc.
4905 Reno Road NW Washington, DC -

EIN/Tax ID: 522234809
DUNS: N/A
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Research Institution Information:
University of Maryland
Lee Building
College Park, MD 20742
Contact: Muriel Averilla-Chin
Contact Phone: (301) 405-6269