EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES

Lens Creates Clear Images In the Heat of Battle

1/1/2011
By Eric Beidel
Heat haze can threaten footage of a summer barbecue or the ability to locate an enemy target.

A Colorado-based company, though, can provide technology that smoothes out the ripples and waves that obstruct long-distance views in extreme heat. When pavement, sand and other surfaces absorb intense energy from the sun, an unstable layer of hot air forms and bends light, causing the shimmering effect known as anisoplanatism, or heat haze.

PENTAX Imaging Co.’s new PAIR02 lens reduces this effect in surveillance images of far-away objects, said Andrew Shemo, the company’s technical sales executive. Like its predecessor PAIR01, it also reduces the effects of fog, rain, smoke and other atmospheric aberrations. PAIR stands for Pentax Atmospheric Interference Reduction.

Heat haze has long perplexed surveillance experts. “Imagine a whole bunch of mirrors twisting in the wind,” Shemo said. The constantly moving and changing image must be analyzed, the correct image data kept, and the rest discarded. That, in summary, is what this new technology aims to do in under a second.

The system is receiving attention from various agencies, including Customs and Border Protection, which has the task of monitoring illegal activity in sizzling temperatures along the Southwest border.

Topics: Science and Engineering Technology

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