The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded Raytheon $13.4 million to develop a wafer scale manufacturing process that will make thermal imagers accessible to every soldier.
Under a three-year contract, Raytheon Vision Systems (RVS) (Goleta, CA, USA) will develop wafer scale manufacturing processes to reduce the size, weight, power and cost of thermal cameras so that they can be integrated into PDAs or cell phones.
Infrared imaging can capture clear images even in environments with severely degraded visibility. Because of their small size and low power requirements, such thermal imagers could be integrated into handheld units, rifle sights, helmets, or eyeglasses.
Additionally, the captured images can be shared instantly for intelligence analysis or surveillance and reconnaissance.
"Making high-performance thermal imagers available to every soldier will give them greater situational awareness in low light, adverse weather, and obscured environments," says Charlie Cartwright, vice president of Raytheon Network Centric Systems' Advanced Programs, which includes RVS.
More information on the DARPA Low Cost Thermal Imager - Manufacturing (LCTI-M) program can be found here.
-- By Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design