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Development of Infrared Scene Projectors for Fire Fighter Cameras

Published

Author(s)

Joseph P. Rice, Jorge E. Neira, Francine K. Amon

Abstract

We have developed two types of infrared scene projectors for hardware-in-the-loop testing of thermal imaging cameras such as those used by fire-fighters. In one, direct projection, images are projected directly into the camera. In the other, indirect projection, images are projected onto a diffuse screen, which is then viewed by the camera. Both projectors use a digital micromirror array as the spatial light modulator. Two types of micromirror arrays are being investigated for this application, both having infrared windows: one is a Micromirror Array Projection System (MAPS) engine having resolution of 800 x 600 with mirrors on a 17 micrometer pitch; the other is a Discovery 1100 micromirror array having resolution of 1024 x 768 with mirrors on a 13.68 micrometer pitch. Fire-fighter cameras are typically based upon uncooled microbolometer arrays and currently have resolutions of 320 x 240 or lower. For direct projection, we use an argon-arc source, which provides spectral radiance equivalent to a 10,000 kelvin blackbody over the 7 micrometer to 14 micrometer wavelength range, to illuminate the micromirror array. For indirect projection, an expanded 4 watt CO2 laser beam at a wavelength of 10.6 microns illuminates the micromirror array and the scene formed by the first-order diffracted light from the array is projected onto a diffuse aluminum screen. In both projectors, a well-calibrated reference camera is used to provide non-uniformity correction and brightness calibration of the projected scenes, and the fire-fighter cameras alternately view the same scenes. In this paper, we compare the two methods for this application and report on our quantitative results.
Proceedings Title
Technologies for Synthetic Environments: Hardware-in-the-Loop Testing XIII
Volume
6942
Conference Location
San Jose, CA

Keywords

cameras, diffraction, fire-fighters, infrared, micromirrors, optics, scene projection
Created March 2, 2008, Updated February 17, 2017