Camera that sees invisible danger to make land, sea and air safer

9th September 2016
Posted By : Daisy Stapley-Bunten
Camera that sees invisible danger to make land, sea and air safer

A group of European scientists are developing a surveillance camera harnessing new photonics technology that will dramatically reduce coastal rescue times in low visibility conditions, target Greenhouse gasses and keep us safer on the Underground. The camera, measuring the size of a shoebox, uses Multi Spectral Imaging, a process that captures the same image at different frequencies from the electromagnetic spectrum.

Certain combinations of multi spectral images can reveal information that humans cannot see, such as invisible, poisonous or Greenhouse gasses, or fire sources through dense fog, providing an unrivalled level of surveillance.

Current MSI cameras are unsuitable for moving objects or real time observation because they are not ‘snapshot’ devices and use a filter wheel that needs to be rotated. They contain sensors which use technology that needs to be cooled to work, meaning the equipment is bulky.

Weighing less than 2kg, the breakthrough device deploys the latest photonic sensing technology, featuring a multi-aperture, multi sensor camera capable of capturing several wavelengths simultaneously in one place.

With the World Health Organisation estimating in 2014 that nearly 600,000 deaths are a result of air pollution in Europe, and with monitoring of civil infrastructures being an important area for video surveillance equipment and services in the future, this device looks set to play a key role in high-tech safety and security.

Coordinated in Spain, the SEERS, or ‘Snapshot spectral imager for IR surveillance’, project has received a grant of €3,750,535 from Horizon 2020 via the Photonics Public Private Partnership. Project Coordinator, Anton Garcia-Diaz explains:

“The SEERS device is equipped with integrated computational imaging. It has no need for cooling and can process the images in real-time, meaning key parts of processing are embedded within the device.”

This is not just good news for coastal and traffic surveillance but also the implications for the future of safety in tunnels and the Underground tube train network are exciting.

"Accidents in tunnels, while rare, are extremely serious when they do happen. Responding quickly and in a targeted manner is vital. We expect rescue and response times will be cut significantly with the SEERS camera", Garcia-Diaz said.

Based on CMOS compatible FPA manufacturing technology means it is much cheaper than alternative IR technology. A commercial monochromatic camera working in the mid infra-red range of 3-5µm wavelengths is a bulky, cooled device that costs anything over €70,000.

“Few imaging systems exist with the capability to identify gases, but even they can cost over €100,000. The SEERS project aims to deliver MSI technology in an extended infra-red domain at under €40,000 with improved persistence and gas identification capabilities”, said Garcia-Diaz.


You must be logged in to comment

Write a comment

No comments




Sign up to view our publications

Sign up

Sign up to view our downloads

Sign up

Startups Magazine Launch Party: Financing a Startup
24th July 2018
United Kingdom WeWork Waterhouse Square, London
European Microwave Week 2018
23rd September 2018
Spain Ifema Feria De Madrid
IoT Solutions World Congress 2018
16th October 2018
Spain Barcelona
Engineering Design Show 2018
17th October 2018
United Kingdom Ricoh Arena, Coventry
Maintec 2018
6th November 2018
United Kingdom NEC, Birmingham