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Biologically-inspired low light integrated vision systems

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8651-14-C-0107
Agency Tracking Number: F12B-T03-0067
Amount: $1,049,155.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF12-BT03
Solicitation Number: 2012.0
Solicitation Year: 2012
Award Year: 2014
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2014-05-27
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2016-08-30
Small Business Information
4905 Reno Road NW
Washington, DC 20008
United States
DUNS: 000000000
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Geoffrey L Barrows
 (202) 238-9545
Business Contact
 Geoffrey L Barrows
Title: President
Phone: (202) 238-9545
Research Institution
 Univ. Maryland at College Park
 Muriel Averilla-Chin
Lee Building
College Park, MD 20742-5141
United States

 (301) 405-6269
 Nonprofit college or university

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, including in zero light conditions and without reliance on GPS. We propose building two systems. The first system will operate primarily in the visible and NIR domain and utilize silicon based photoreceptor circuits. This system will have the option of using active illumination (when the specific application allows) and be capable of operating from daylight to no light. The second system will be operate primarily in the SWIR spectrum to respond to nocturnal ambient airglow illumination, and will use a hybridized vision sensor optimized for sensitivity. Both systems will meet the strict SWAP requirements for integration into MAV platforms. In addition to answering fundamental research questions, we will prototype flyable sensors that we will then incorporate onto small quadrotor platforms for indoor flight tests. 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) 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 and civilian customers.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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