Photonics

Projection System to Study Insect Vision Could Lead to New Navigational Aids

Development of a virtual reality-like projection system to study insect vision could eventually provide the U.S. Air Force with a new type of navigation system.

Posted in: INSIDER, News, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense, Optics, Photonics
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Navy Launches Virtual Training Tech for Aircraft Carrier Flight Deck Crews

One of the most dangerous environments in the U.S. Navy is the deck of an aircraft carrier. Catapult systems that can remove limbs, furious engines, whipping propellers, and high winds create a hectic environment. The driving force behind all of these activities is helping a pilot land an aircraft on a short slab of pitching steel in the middle of the ocean. Although pilots are the stars of the show, they could not accomplish their missions without the support of flight deck crews, who are responsible for safely launching and recovering aircraft.

Posted in: INSIDER, News, Defense, Computers, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Photonics, Simulation Software
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Air Force Research Lab and Industry Advance Multi-Junction Solar Cells

Experts at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) continue to expand the scope of their technological expertise, rising above the Earth’s surface to meet the power needs of next-generation military spacecraft. A collaborative effort between the AFRL Materials and Manufacturing and Space Vehicles directorates, the Space Industrial Base Working Group, and SolAero Technologies has resulted in state-of-the art, multi-junction solar cells destined to reduce costs and increase power efficiency for military space applications.

Posted in: News, Defense, Solar Power, Materials, Photonics
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Army Developing Lasers That Pierce Fog, Dust to Destroy Targets

A lot of people think that high-energy lasers, or HELs, can't penetrate fog, rain and dust, said Thomas Webber, director of the Directed Energy Division's Technical Center, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command. That's just plain wrong.

Posted in: News, Defense, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optics
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Researchers Show How Fear Memories Can Be Erased

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have devised a method to selectively erase particular fear memories by weakening the connections between the nerve cells (neurons) involved in forming these memories. A sight, sound, or smell we have sensed may not later trigger fear, but if the stimulus is associated with a traumatic event, such as a car accident, then fear memory is formed, and fearful responses are triggered by the stimulus.

Posted in: News, Defense, Medical, Photonics
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Robot’s Speed-of-Light Communication Could Protect You From Danger

Cornell University researchers are developing a system to enable teams of robots to share information as they move around, and if necessary, interpret what they see. This would allow the robots to conduct surveillance as a single entity with many eyes. Beyond surveillance, the new technology could enable teams of robots to relieve humans of dangerous jobs such as disposing of landmines, cleaning up after a nuclear meltdown or surveying the damage after a flood or hurricane. The project, called “Convolutional-Features Analysis and Control for Mobile Visual Scene Perception,” is supported by a four-year, $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

Posted in: News, Defense, Machine Vision, Visualization Software, Optics, Robotics
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Heads-up Display Improves Soldiers’ Situational Awareness

A novel technology called "Tactical Augmented Reality," or TAR, is now helping soldiers precisely locate their positions, as well as the locations of friends and foes. It even enables them to see in the dark, all with a heads-up display device that looks like night-vision goggles (NVG). In essence, TAR replaces NVG, GPS, plus it does much more.

Posted in: News, Defense, Optical Components, Optics
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Mobile High-Energy Laser Shoots Down Drones

A Stryker combat vehicle equipped with a 5kW laser and an array of sensors spent several minutes scanning the horizon for a wayward "enemy" drone. On a television screen in a nearby tent off Thompson Hill - a range used during the recent 10-day Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment (MFIX) - observers watched the black and white output of those sensors on two flat-screen televisions. A crosshair was centered on the screen. When what appeared to be a drone entered the frame, the crosshairs locked on to it and followed it.

Posted in: News, Defense, Lasers & Laser Systems
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Compact UV Lasers Could Spot Dangerous Substances from a Distance

For soldiers in the field, the ability to identify an object or substance based on how it responds to light could mean the difference between life and death. They could, for example, determine from a safe distance if an approaching person or vehicle is carrying an explosive device or dangerous biological agent.

Posted in: News, Defense, Lasers & Laser Systems
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Compact UV Lasers Could ID Substances from a Distance

For soldiers in the field, the ability to identify an object or substance based on how it responds to light could mean the difference between life and death. They could, for example, determine from a safe distance if an approaching person or vehicle is carrying an explosive device or dangerous biological agent.

Posted in: News, Defense, Lasers & Laser Systems
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