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LUMISTAR INFRARED IMAGING NEWS

By Lumistar's Chief Scientist

February 15, 2016

First Aerial Infrared Footage of L.A. Natural Gas Leak

Thousands of residents from upscale community Porter Ranch, California, as suburb of Los Angeles, have been relocated after becoming sickened by nearby massive gas leak that began in October 2015. The natural gas well was originally an oil field but was quickly depleted over a 60 plus year span. In the 1970s, the land’s owners pumped in natural gas into the empty well to be stored and later used when prices were higher. As nearby residents began experiencing nausea, nosebleeds, dizziness, and headaches the utility provider SoCalGas allegedly informed local authorities 3 days after detection according to court documents. The residents were initially told they were feeling sick from the rotten-egg smell added to the natural gas which is used to alert customers when they have a gas leak in their home as natural gas is odorless, but it was further revealed that compounds that can cause cancer, for example benzene, were elevated beyond their legal limits. Residents and media took to using infrared cameras to show the dramatic effect of the gas leak, as well as to provide peace of mind when it is resolved. By adding a special filter and using a specific bandwidth of the infrared spectrum, infrared cameras can detect gases including natural gas in the atmosphere to be shown in the visible spectrum. The above video was taken with a special infrared camera from a helicopter showing what is invisible to the naked eye or traditional cameras. SoCalGas has been working on building a new relief well adjacent to the broken well to siphon the gas to a new receptacle, after which time the old well will be filled with mud and sealed with cement. The leak was stopped last week, but the families won’t start moving back to nearby homes until state authorities have certified that cement pumped into the well has permanently plugged it.

Update: On February 17, SoCalGas pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges stemming from the ruptured well in California that leaked for weeks. The complaint brought by the county district attorney includes three counts of failing to report the release of a hazardous material and one count of discharge of air contaminants. If convicted, the company could be fined up to $1,000 per day for air pollution violations and up to $25,000 for each of the three days it didn’t notify the state office of emergency services of the leak.





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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January 5, 2011

New Drone Can See ‘Everything’, Not One Fixed Target

Drone Gorgon Stare

By contrast to drones used today, using one camera only, the Air Force has announced that it will be deploying in Afghanistan a new weapon of airborne surveillance: ‘Gorgon Stare’. This new aircraft has nine cameras, including thermal imaging, and will be able to transmit up to 65 different images to up to 9 different users.  “With five electro-optical and four infrared cameras packed into each array, the system was designed to stitch a broad mosaic together, allowing several commanders on the ground to simultaneously grab slices of that bigger picture.”  The live video stream will transmit enemy movements for analysts to study or for soldiers to tap into immediately with a portable device the size of an ipad to track ground movements. Soldiers will know how a mission is going or when the optimal time to start a campaign of engagement – live.  Match the data with ‘boots on the ground’ in strategic places a new ground game is born “at the speed of war.”  Since the city is under constant surveillance and being recorded, analysts can go back to study who planted the latest IED, or if there is a pattern along a particular road.  As a bonus, because this small aircraft will be looking at an entire city at once, there will be no way for the adversary to know what the target is.

The Air Force is looking to mount wide-area surveillance cameras on airships that can stay aloft for up to two weeks. Each $17.5 million plane weighs 1,100 pounds, and because of its configuration will not be mounted with weapons.  They also envision it having civilian applications, including securing borders and aiding in natural disasters.

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