SBIR Phase I: High Resolution, Low Cost, Compact 3D Imaging System

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0945805
Agency Tracking Number: 0945805
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: IC
Solicitation Number: NSF 09-541
Small Business Information
Bridger Photonics
112 E. Lincoln, Bozeman, MT, 59715
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Brant Kaylor
 (406) 585-2774
Business Contact
 Brant Kaylor
Title: PhD
Phone: (406) 585-2774
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will demonstrate a novel, three-dimensional (3D) imaging system concept that combines cutting-edge high-resolution, frequency-modulated continuous-wave (FMCW) Laser Radar (LADAR) with powerful Feature Specific Imaging (FSI) techniques. Many applications including autonomous navigation, object recognition, and machine vision would benefit greatly from fast, high-resolution 3D imaging sensors. Unfortunately, existing 3D imaging systems cannot offer the range resolution, speed, or cost effectiveness for these applications due to required specialized hardware such as fast-focal-plane arrays or mechanical scanning components. The combination of broadband FMCW LADAR technology and advanced FSI techniques will enable a 3D imaging system with unrivalled range resolution, no moving parts, and a single detector element, and it will still offer comparable size, frame rates, and cost as current state-of-the-art 2D imaging solutions. The research objectives for this project include demonstrating the critical components and performance of the FMCW LADAR unit, and combining this unit with an advanced FSI physical design and algorithm. This combined system will be used to demonstrate a single pixel 3D imaging system. Lastly, the feasibility of a practical imaging system based on this concept will be assessed. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is the development of a practical, low-cost, high-resolution 3D imaging system that has applications including industrial machine vision, vehicle collision avoidance systems, security and surveillance imaging systems, autonomous navigation and object recognition units for robots. The system will therefore improve the quality and efficiency of manufacturing, improve safety on the roadways and the workplace, provide reliable object presence and scene change information for crucial security needs, and advance the perception capabilities of robots. Presently available 3D imaging systems are far too large, slow and costly for these applications. By partnering with established industry leaders, the proposed technology will be developed for these applications. By building key industry partnerships and targeting ideal entry markets, estimated revenues from this product line will grow to nearly $30M by 2014.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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