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LUMISTAR INFRARED IMAGING NEWS

By Lumistar's Chief Scientist

December 15, 2015

Christmas Shown From Space Using Infrared Process

Nasa Photo of Christmas Lights

New photos created from NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite, shows the extent of holiday light displays in the U.S. compared to the rest of the year. By comparing the light from the Christmas holiday with the rest of the year, the differential is extracted and shown on the map. Scientists found that nighttime lights around major U.S. cities shone 20 percent to 50 percent brighter around Christmas. Dark green in the key is used to indicate areas where lights have the largest gain mostly suburbs being 50 percent brighter in December. The images released were taken between 2012 and 2013 and include 70 American cities. The difference is most pronounced in suburbs and small towns where residents have bigger yards and bigger homes. Lights were brightest between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

The Suomi NPP weather satellite, launched in 2011, has a sounder infrared spectrometer named Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), and a scanning radiometer named Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). Since 1980, polar-orbiting weather satellites have included both imagers and sounders. These types of sensors record data continuously, using different wavelengths to infer information on a global scale.

The CrIS sounder infrared spectrometer is an instrument measuring temperature and water vapor as a function of different heights within the atmosphere. The scanner collects multiple spectral data via 1,305 separated spectral channels (sensors), internally separating infrared energy into wavelengths, similar to a weather balloon. CrIS produces high-resolution, three-dimensional temperature, pressure, and moisture profiles. These profiles are used to enhance weather forecasting models, and they will facilitate both short- and long-term weather forecasting.

The VIIRS uses radiometric and infrared imaging, thereby using a color pallet to ‘paint’ polarized heat images by assigning color to each heat temperature, which is the sole instrument used to create the above map. VIIRS collects visible and infrared imagery and radiometric measurements of the land, atmosphere, cryosphere, and oceans. VIIRS data is used to measure cloud and aerosol properties, ocean color, sea and land surface temperature, ice motion and temperature, fires, and Earth’s albedo. VIIRS can record infrared light even in the presence of clouds, moonlight and air particles.

Together VIIRS and CrIS combine infrared instruments and can determine cloud top height and thermodynamic phase (ice or water particles), and make estimates of microphysical and optical properties that indicate the amount of water and ice in the cloud layer. The Suomi NPP satellite is the result of a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Defense.

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October 15, 2015

Thermal Imaging Facial Recognition System In Works

GroupofGuys

The problem with current facial recognition systems using optical CCTV cameras is that when it’s dark the analytics can’t make heads or tails what’s going on. Thermal infrared would solve this problem but with it’s current limitations it can’t see the kind of facial details that traditional lighting highlights in a person’s face. A group of German scientists claim to have found a solution to this issue, limiting infrared cameras, by creating a new system that analyzes a person’s thermal signature. To accomplished this, the scientists first gained access to a previous study’s archived database of optical and thermal infrared photo profiles created for 82 individuals. Second, the scientists fed 41 of these complete profiles, or half, into a deep neural network computer system, so called due to it’s ability to use artificial intelligence to ‘learn’, and taught the computer to compare a person’s thermal infrared profile with their optical photo. The computer’s analytics was put to the test to see if it was able to make accurate identification by feeding the remaining 41 profile photos at random into the computer. Amazingly, it was accurate by 10% greater than the latest state-of-the-art traditional optical CCTV methods of facial recognition. But there is still a long way to go before it is put into real life situations due to the fact each person’s study profiles on average had 55 photos, thermal and non-thermal.  The computer’s facial recognition accuracy reaches only about 80% when there are a few optical images in its database to compare to the thermal image. With only one optical image available per person, the accuracy of the system falls to 55%.

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August 15, 2015

NASA Uses Infrared Camera To Measure Pluto’s Ice

pluto infrared spectral image

When New Horizons spacecraft passed Pluto on 14 July, is equipped with an infrared camera as part of the Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA). LEISA is a spectrometer on New Horizons’ Ralph instrument, that operates in 256 near infrared (NIR) wavelengths between 1.25-2.50 micrometers. The Ralph instrument combines visible imagery from the Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) with infrared spectroscopy from LEISA.

A little background: Spectroscopy, the measurement of radiation intensity as a function of wavelength, is used in physical and analytical chemistry because atoms and molecules have unique spectra or ‘code’. The measured spectra are used to determine the chemical composition and physical properties of astronomical objects. LEISA uses infrared spectroscopy using an infrared camera detector or spectrometer, to capture the longer invisible infrared wavelengths of near infrared NIR (vs. sometimes using shorter wavelengths of optical light) and in this case using multi-band infrared sub-wavelengths to derive the chemical composition ‘code’ of a distant celestial body.

The above map represents just three of those 256 NIR wavelengths, as more data has yet to be beamed back to Earth, in a slow process that will last through 2016. The bright blue, red, black, and green pixels — overlaid on a LORRI basemap, represent methane ice accumulations as derived from infrared spectroscopy. Three colors on the map represent the three wavelengths data transmitted to date. The color red was chosen to map the longest infrared wavelength thus far (2.30 to 2.33 micrometers), followed by green (1.97 to 2.05 micrometers), and blue at the short end of infrared (1.62 to 1.70 micrometers). From what scientists are observing from the Ralph instrument, Pluto is abundant in methane ice, but it is unevenly distributed, for which they lack understanding. Methane changes from gas to liquid to ice as the temperature drops. On relatively warm Earth methane takes form of a gas, on Saturn’s moon Titan methane is a liquid sea, and on distant and very cold Pluto, methane has become thick mountainous patches of ice. Pluto’s equatorial patches are so reddish-brown dark in optical light they have shallow infrared absorption. But in the north polar cap, methane ice is diluted in a thick, transparent slab of nitrogen ice resulting in strong absorption of infrared light.

For the first time in history we have images near Pluto. Pluto has come as a surprise with it’s giant heart shape on the surface, its reddish color like Mars but for a different reason, the fact it could be geologically active to this day which is a mystery why, incredible mountain ranges and glaciers that look surprisingly like Earth’s, its strange snake skin like terrain shaped by its alien hydrological glacial cycle (it snows nitrogen), Pluto’s daily weather changes, and a 12 layer nitrogen/methane atmosphere. A different instrument, Alice, will beam back separate data about Pluto’s atmosphere. Not too long ago, all that was known about Pluto was represented by a distant blue dot. Bottom line: Pluto’s ice is more diverse than anticipated to say the least.

Note: Spectroscopic studies were central to the development of quantum mechanics and included Max Planck’s explanation of blackbody radiation, Albert Einstein’s explanation of the photoelectric effect and Niels Bohr’s explanation of atomic structure and spectra.





June 15, 2015

Thermal Camera Observes Computer Hack Using Heat

Highly secure computer systems, referred to as “air-gapped systems”, are not connected to the internet or connected to other systems connected to the internet so their data can’t be hacked and stolen. These systems are used in military complexes, payment systems, or systems that control critical infrastructure, to name a few examples. But investigators have found a new way to hack into these systems — using heat. Researchers are also using thermal infrared cameras to observe the process (see above video). By having an infected computer that is connected to internet placed near the non-internet connected computer, for example, a laptop that goes home with a worker and returns to the office placing it near the air-gapped classified system, the internet hacker manipulates the laptop’s temperature in a pattern creating 0’s and 1’s communicating to the air-gapped system via it’s thermal sensor that is normally used for its cooling fan. At present time, the rate of information exchanged via heat signals back and forth is slow but information such as password transmission has been demonstrated. Researchers are determining if internet connected air conditioning systems can also communicate with these offline classified computers sometime in the future as this method develops.

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April 15, 2015

Police Gear Up To Watch Beaches With Thermal Imaging

As police departments become more militarized, Miami Beach’s officers will be prepared for Memorial Day weekend, locally known as ‘Urban Beach Week’, on a whole new level. Their equipment includes: multiple mobile cameras, 3 watchtowers, 62 light towers, 12 messaging boards, 18 stationary CCTV cameras (monitored throughout the city), multiple license plate readers (on the causeways to quickly scan for stolen vehicles or owners with outstanding felony warrants), 400 officers on duty around the clock, and ATV’s. What’s of interest to this blog is that they will have an all new light tactical all-terrain vehicle or “LTV”, which is a $140,000 vehicle similar to the ones used in the military. This highly advanced vehicle has a built in thermal imaging camera to patrol and detect heat signatures on the beach. Even in the dead of night, with zero light conditions, officers can see people on a small screen mounted inside the vehicle, detecting people as far as 3/4 of a mile away who are trespassing on the beach after hours, or other criminal activity. Officers liken a dark beach in Miami to a dark alley in New York City. [See video.]


Filed under: Business,Camera,Infrared,Lumistar,Technology,Thermal Imaging — Tags: , , , , — Lumistar @ 08:00



February 15, 2015

Humans Can See Infrared Light Thought Impossible

Lumistar - Blog - Infrared Vision

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, were able to get subjects to see in the infrared with the naked eye. Researchers used infrared laser beams (pure focused infrared beams) at different wavelengths to conduct their experiments. The key to their safety in these experiments and ultimately it’s usefulness in medicine was using a less powerful infrared laser beam, not one that can damage the retina like conventional laser pointers used in lecture halls or as toys.

There were reports in the past of humans could see infrared light in scientific literature during experiments, but they were unexplained and thus the myth remained human retinas were incapable of seeing ‘invisible’ infrared. For researchers at Washington U. to conduct their experiments, laser pulses of different duration were delivered with the same number of photons, defined as the particles that make up light whether visible or invisible like infrared. Their findings: if the infrared laser pulse was short enough to ‘stack’ the photons picked up by the photoreceptors in the retina, two photons hitting the retina instead of one, it caused the invisible wavelength to mimic a visible wavelength half it’s strength, becoming a wavelength visible to the naked eye. The key is to get the beam in the visible spectrum or the ‘rainbow’ which is in the 400-700 nanometer range. At near infrared (NIR) 1,000 nanometer wavelength, with two photon hits, it became a 500 nanometer photon thus in the visible wavelength range. By making the pulses short in order to bombard the retina the subjects didn’t see ‘pulses’ but instead saw a duration of light. In standard vision, only one photon is absorbed at a time by your photoreceptors on the back of the retina, which then create a molecule called a photpigment read by the nerves leading to the brain creating vision.  The benefit to all this is whereas using visible-wavelength lasers might damage the retina in potential medical treatments, this technology will develop new tools to examine the healthy eye by stimulating specific parts of the retina to see if it is properly functioning. By doing so doctors can learn more about our eye’s structure and function not only in healthy eyes but in people with retinal diseases such as macular degeneration.

In case you were wondering, all 30 volunteers described infrared as very short pulses of pale green light and longer pulses of reddish light.

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December 15, 2014

Thermal Imaging Shows Penguins’ Unusual Phenomena

Courtesy of Université de Strasbourg and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Strasbourg, France

Courtesy of Université de Strasbourg and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Strasbourg, France

Courtesy of Université de Strasbourg and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Strasbourg, France
After studying Emperor penguins using thermal imaging cameras, scientists from Glasgow University in Glasgow, UK discovered that these Antarctic birds keep warm by an unusual phenomena where temperatures can reach -40C. Studying penguins In the French-claimed sector of Antarctica named Adélie Land, scientists  discovered that penguin’s feathers or plumage are colder than that of the surrounding air. As a result thermal radiation, heat from the warm bodies is lost to the colder air, is minimized. Penguins, similar to humans at 37C, maintain core temperature of approximately 36.9C but only their eyes, beaks, and feet were warmer than the surrounding air, and only their eyes are above freezing. Similar to fighting fire with fire, Emperor penguins fight cold with cold. Thermal Imaging confirmed that penguins coats are four degrees Celsius colder than surrounding air. Penguins are able to accomplish this by having their coats face the upper atmosphere which is 20C colder than the surrounding air. For example, according to Glasgow scientists, a similar phenomenon can be observed if you park your car in the open on a cold night. Usually you will only find frost to have formed on the roof and windscreen but the sides do not ‘view’ the sky and therefore are radiating to relatively warmer surroundings. Penguins plumage is also so insulated it is equivalent to humans wearing two ski suits. Computer simulations confirmed their findings.

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October 15, 2014

Physicists Harvest Infrared Light Into Energy

Lumistar-Blog-Infrared Earth

Possibly as a future add-on to solar panels for harvesting energy at night, physicists at Harvard University have found a way to capture thermal infrared energy that escapes every night into space by the very act of allowing it to escape.  By using the principal of hot and cold differential to harness electrons into voltaic current, similar to how radioisotope thermoelectric nuclear batteries are used on artificial satellites, the thermal power generator would capture the infrared photonic energy with the use of a “hot” plate, as warm as the Earth, with a “cold” plate on top made from a material that would quickly radiate the thermal infrared electromagnetic photonic wavelengths back to the cold vacuum of space.  During a pilot study in Lamont, Oklahoma, the researchers have calculated that the heat difference between the plates could generate a few watts per square meter, day and night. This natural radiation happens every night with some of the infrared energy being trapped by our atmosphere to keep the planet from being as cold as space, thus named the greenhouse effect. With the sun bombarding the Earth with infrared heat that escapes every day and night continuously back to space this is clean energy that can eventually be used. Scientists hope to create a working model and become further efficient producing additional watts by using nanotechnology making efficiency possible.

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August 15, 2014

Thermal Cameras Catch Heat During Social Interactions

LumistarBlog-ThermalFace

Using thermal imaging cameras, researchers at the University of St Andrews (St Andrews, UK) Perception Lab, have found that when heterosexual women interact socially with men, it causes a noticeable rise in the temperature of their faces. University scientists studied temperature changes in only women for this report.  The study was conducted to see if interpersonal social contact can elicit facial temperature changes as studies in the past dealt with other forms of emotional arousal such as fear and stress. Thermal responses were measured using a thermal imager with thermal sensitivity (NETD): less than 80 mK, 1 frame per 75 s. Object emissivity was set at 0.98, the standard value for skin. Infrared images were taken during a standardized interaction with a same- and opposite-sex experimenter using skin contact in a number of potentially high–intimate (face and chest) and low–intimate (arm and palm) locations. When peer-aged male laboratory agents touched heterosexual female participants on the face or chest the test subjects showed major (more than one degree Celsius) temperature responses on the face. What was surprising is that women’s facial temperature increased by one degree Celsius during any interaction with the male experimenter, using the thermal camera to record the observation. When other women laboratory agents did the tests on these same women subjects,  gender alone influenced the reaction of women, who showed no thermal response to interaction with other women.  Researchers hope to use this data to eventually develop a lie detector test for national security purposes. Studies show increases in temperature occur on the forehead when lying. “Thermal imaging offers new possibilities in the study of psychological responses to social interactions and is of particular interest in the context of mating signals.” Or maybe it will be used by social networks if infrared seeking cameras are incorporated into computing devices like your phone as a standard feature.

More information on the research can be found here.





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