NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-2 A4.02-8060
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Flight Test Techniques and Measurement Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE: Advanced Long-Range Video Capabilities Using Speckle Imaging Techniques

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
EM Photonics
51 East Main Street, Suite 203
Newark, DE 19711 - 4685
(302) 456-9003

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Petersen Curt
51 East Main Street, Suite 203
Newark, DE 19711 - 4685
(302) 456-9003

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Flight-testing is a crucial component in NASA's mission to research and develop new aeronautical concepts because it allows for verification of simulated and wind-tunnel experiments and exposes previously unforeseen design problems. Video is an invaluable tool for flight-testing, allowing the collection of a wealth of information such as craft position, speed, health, as well as tracking different phases of flight, capturing events, extracting performance figures, and documenting historical flights. For several cases of interest (high-speed/high-altitude aircraft, lakebed remote landings, vehicle re-entry, smoke airflow traces, etc.) it is not feasible or physically possible to install external cameras close to the aircraft whose behavior is being filmed. Long-range imaging equipment is typically used in these cases, but the captured footage is severely limited in quality by atmospheric effects, which are often the dominating source of image degradation, long before diffraction-related limitations occur. In consequence, long-range imagery typically suffers from scintillation, blurring, poor spatial resolution, and low contrast. Since these problems result from atmospheric conditions, they cannot be overcome by simply improving imaging hardware. What is needed is a solution to combat atmospheric distortion. In Phase I, EM Photonics demonstrated a signal processing technique based on initial research from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. We modified and implemented this core algorithm and showed its ability to enhance imagery collected from the long-range imaging systems at NASA DFRC. In Phase II, we will evolve and integrate the prototype components developed in Phase I and deliver an image enhancement device capable of running in real time to mitigate the image distortion present in data collected from NASA DFRC's long-range cameras.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA collects massive amounts of long-range imagery, whether for range safety pre-launch, tracking objects after launch, or observing objects in space. All these applications require imaging through the atmosphere at great distances. This causes all the imagery collected to be blurred and often detail is lost.
Our primary goal will be meeting the needs of the flights test imaging group at NASA DFRC. The image enhancement tools developed in this project can be integrated directly into their operation center and used for improve the quality of collected both in real time (as the tests are occurring) and as later analysis is performed.
In addition, this technology can be used to support any NASA mission that requires imaging over long distances. One such application is range safety and flight tracking at NASA KSC. By viewing enhanced imagery, NASA officials will have access to additional information for a variety of key decisions. During launch, added level of detail provides the ability to make more informed "go" or "no go" decisions. When tracking rockets, enhanced imagery allows for more detail on pieces that may fall from the craft during flight. Accounting for atmospheric effects will also improve the quality of all imagery taken of space-based objects from Earth.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
We have identified both government and commercial groups outside of NASA that use long-range imaging and could benefit from image enhancement. Government groups that could benefit from our technology include the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and local law enforcement. These applications are primarily in the area of long-range surveillance. Details on some of the groups we have identified can found in our Phase II proposal.
While there are promising government applications, we believe the first commercial applications of the image enhancement tool developed in this project will be in the private-sector. This is because the solver we develop for NASA will have numerous commercial applications without modification to the underlying platform. We have identified several broad potential markets and have begun discussions with companies with the intention of demonstrating our second-generation prototype to them upon completion. During Phase I, we have begun discussions with several commercial manufacturers of imaging systems. Details on which companies we are currently working with can be found in our proposal. After NASA, we expect one of these companies to be the first users of our resulting technology. We will be exploring two primary models for licensing our technology to commercial companies: as an add-on to their current offerings and directly integrated into their imaging system.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Adaptive Optics
Data Acquisition (see also Sensors)
Image Analysis
Image Capture (Stills/Motion)
Image Processing
Space Transportation & Safety
Telemetry (see also Control & Monitoring)
Telemetry/Tracking (Cooperative/Noncooperative; see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)

Form Generated on 09-03-12 17:04