Tuesday, October 27, 2009

FLIR Systems buy up OmniTech Partners

FLIR Systems, Inc announced today the acquisition of OmniTech Partners, Inc. for $42 million in cash. OmniTech, based in Freeport, PA, is a leader in the development and manufacturing of weapon-mounted image intensified (I2) sensors, and image-fused I2/infrared thermal imaging systems. The acquisition provides a bridge for I2 users to the world of infrared and the future of multi-spectral night vision, allowing the merger of these two critical technologies to maximize the benefits of both.

OmniTech’s night sights and other I2 products, which operate in the visible and near infrared bands, are complementary with FLIR’s existing line of mid wave and long wave infrared sighting sensors and systems. FLIR’s low cost, high performance infrared technology will augment OmniTech’s I2 technology and allow the creation of low cost, multi-spectral clip on solutions using OmniTech’s patented optical fusion technologies. With infrared, I2 users will be able to detect targets more quickly despite camouflage, smoke, dust and adverse weather, and follow up with the high resolution I2 imagery for target identification.

Operating as a part of FLIR’s Government Systems Division, OmniTech, which will be known as FLIR Government Systems Pittsburgh, will target weapon sights, night vision goggles and other night vision sensors for individual Soldiers, force protection, ISR, and other I2 applications that will benefit from the addition of infrared vision. As the world’s leader in infrared detectors and cameras, FLIR’s high volume manufacturing capacity and low costs will be essential to the adoption of these combined products on a large scale. In addition to the acquisition of Salvador Imaging (now known as FLIR Advanced Imaging Systems), a maker of advanced CCD and EMCCD cameras, in June 2009, the acquisition of OmniTech further cements FLIR’s position as a full spectrum supplier of night vision sensors and systems.

“With the acquisition of OmniTech, FLIR’s technology covers the full spectrum from visible through long wave infrared, and all major night vision technologies including not only infrared but EMCCD as well as I2,” said Earl R. Lewis, President and CEO of FLIR Systems, Inc. “We are impressed with OmniTech’s abilities and products, and look forward to sharing those capabilities with our customers. FLIR is well positioned to be the World’s leader in night vision, with the unique ability to integrate all these technologies together to provide complete solutions at the lowest cost”

OmniTech is currently forecasted to reach $21.8 million in revenue by the end of 2009. The transaction is expected to be immaterial to FLIR’s earnings in 2009 and 2010.

About FLIR Systems
FLIR Government Systems, a division of FLIR Systems, Inc., is a world leader in the design, qualification, and manufacture of thermal imaging and stabilized EO/IR systems for a wide variety of airborne, maritime, land based and man-portable applications including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), combat search and rescue (CSAR), border control and drug interdiction, navigation safety, maritime patrol, force protection and facility security, forward observation, training, targeting, and fire control, and laser weapons designation. FLIR Systems is headquartered in Portland Oregon, with service and manufacturing facilities worldwide.

Source: FLIR

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bluesky Launches Thermal Imaging Web Mapping Tool

UK aerial survey company Bluesky has launched an easy-to-use property heat loss mapper to help Local Authorities view thermal data collected during airborne thermal imaging surveys. The HELIOS (Heat Loss Investigation System) web based reporting tool, developed by Manchester Geomatics, will help energy and environment teams understand the results of thermal surveys and allow cross referencing of data with other information.

With fuel poverty and energy consumption high on both the political and personal agenda, HELIOS allows survey results to be presented in a visually appealing and easily understandable way. HELIOS is designed to manage multiple data types enabling the cross referencing of thermal mapping with geo-demographic data such as Census information, building classification mapping and land use. It also matches address information including the National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG), base mapping from Ordnance Survey, and other custom data layers such as the energy consumption compiled by BERR.

This powerful combination of information will help Local Authorities identify opportunities to engage with residents and the business community about suitable insulation grants, consumption advice and renewable energy products thus helping to measure and report on National Indicators and Performance Targets.

“Fuel consumption and energy efficiency are ‘hot’ topics impacting not only on the environment but on the purse of every business, household and individual,” commented Rachel Tidmarsh, Managing Director of Bluesky. “By providing Local Authorities with up to date, building level thermal imagery plus the tools they need to analyse and communicate this information rich resource we can help reduce consumption, protect at risk residents and preserve the environment.”

The end to end solution offered by Bluesky to Local Authorities includes a cost effective airborne thermal survey service measuring building roof heat loss levels across an entire city in just one evening plus a bespoke thermal mapping service creating intelligent energy consumption and fuel poverty maps to support energy strategies and local campaigns. Using HELIOS Councils can now easily analyse complex data from multiple sources and share results with colleagues, partner organisations and members of the public. Bluesky has many years of successfully delivering thermal survey solutions to Local Authorities and help assemble, host and manage a HELIOS installation on behalf of an organisation.

Website: www.bluesky-world.com
Contact Bluesky sales on +44 (0)1530 518 518

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Faulty Electric Circuits Caused IMPZ Fire

The cause of the fire at a labour camp in the International Media Production Zone (IMPZ) on Saturday night is believed to have been caused due to an electrical fault, according to the IMPZ authorities.

Speaking to Construction Week, IMPZ spokesperson Yaqoob Al Zarooni said, “The fire was not a big one and it was tackled very quickly and caused no injuries. I believe the fire started due to a short circuit.”

Construction Week witnessed the fire first-hand as it ripped through four cabins of a temporary labour camp for workers of landscaping company Proscape, which is carrying out the IMPZ lake works. No injuries were reported.

Firefighters accompanied by the police and ambulances arrived on scene in under an hour and the fire was put out by about 1am.

At the time a spokesperson for Proscape said he thought the fire was due to a short circuit.

Previous fires have shown that poor MEP works were the cause and calls from experts to tighten regulations have been made in the past.

On Sunday, it was revealed that the cause for the fire at a Sharjah warehouse was due to poor MEP works.

“The standard of MEP work is generally very poor in the UAE,” said Iain Fryer, director of KMI International, a company that specialises in providing thermal imaging technology to check for MEP problems.

Often, problems are difficult to spot with the naked eye and this, claimed Fryer, is where thermal imaging has advantages.

“The cabling can look fine but then we’ll notice that it’s running much hotter than it should be and there’s actually a fire risk. Short circuiting is the reason for many fires and, as we saw recently in Sharjah, the results can be disastrous.”

Source: www.constructionweekonline.com

BMW Thermal Imaging System

BMW packed the new 7-Series sedan with optional gadgets ranging from radar-assisted cruise control to blind spot detection. There’s even a heads-up display. Pick all the high-tech options and you’ll add $26,000 to the car’s already hefty price tag. But the coolest feature is the new Thermal Imaging system that likens a twilight drive to a Special Forces recon mission.

The Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection system significantly advances the first-gen system found in the last 7-series by adding people-spotting technology that distinguishes between animals and humans. The system was developed by the Swedish firm Autoliv Electronics. It is the latest evolution of technology that Lexus and Mercedes-Benz also have offered since Cadillac brought it to the automotive sector in the 2000 Deville sedan.

bmw thermal imaging

Since then, thermal imaging has made way for far- and near-infrared cameras that detect even the smallest changes in temperature. BMW’s passive system uses far-infrared technology to scan for heat, whereas Mercedes’ near-infrared system illuminates the road with projected infrared light. The BMW system stands apart for its extreme depth, clarity in rain and ability to minimize extraneous information. Despite the added safety such systems offer, Cadillac and Lexus dropped them because few people bought them. But BMW, like Mercedes, still sees a market for it.

The system does a great job of helping you see in the dark, but it is not without flaws.

BMW isn’t suggesting drivers switch off their headlights. The $2,600 option compliments the 7-Series’ adaptive headlights, which follow your steering inputs to help you see around that turn. The system provides a crisp, clear picture of 1,000 feet of pavement ahead of you, a distance Autoliv says is twice the range of the headlights. That can mean the difference between avoiding that deer and totaling your $110,000 Beemer.

“The new system is like an extra set of eyes — a very complex processing unit is constantly monitoring video of the road ahead,” says Stuart Klapper, night vision business director at Autoliv.

bmw_night_vision_02A silver dollar-size far-infrared camera in the grille detects the temperature of everything ahead. A computer converts the data into an image (shown at right) that appears on the dashboard’s i-Drive navigation display. Warmer objects like a pedestrian or moose are white, while cooler objects like a parked car are black. The pedestrian-detection feature kicks in when the car exceeds 25 mph, scanning the road 10 to 100 yards ahead of you. Pedestrians appear with a yellow tint, helping you figure out if that dark shape is a kid on a bike or a dog in the road. The system also monitors your speed and trajectory to warn you if you’re on a collision course.

BMW designed the system to account for country and city driving conditions. When driving at slower speeds in the city, where higher pedestrian traffic is expected, the system monitors a smaller area ahead of you so it isn’t warning you about the drunk staggering across the street three blocks ahead.

We tested the system during a weekend in Manhattan and the Berkshire Mountains, about 150 miles from the Big Apple. We did more than 500 miles behind the heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel of the big Beemer and have mixed feelings about the system’s execution.

The system is remarkable for the crisp, clear picture that it projects. It’s like watching a black and white movie on a nice TV. The more time you spend with it, the more you appreciate how well it highlights everything from a couple walking down the street to an oncoming car. Things you couldn’t see through the windshield appear clearly and vibrantly on the screen. This was particularly helpful driving a tight country road. A motorist had pulled over on the side of the road and, thanks to the bright image on the screen, was easily spotted. That might have prevented an accident.

That said, the system provided a few false warnings on the run from Sandisfield, Massachusetts, to Becket on Route 8, a winding road with plenty of tight turns and blind corners. It’s exactly the kind of road where you’d want the system to work flawlessly, yet it continued to warn of dangers that weren’t there. We suspect that, as the car rounded a corner and its nose pointed ever-so-briefly away from the road, the sensors detected something at the side of the road.

“It is possible that an animal or another warm object may have triggered the alert. In the 7-series, a false warning can occur,” Klapper says. “In the new 5-series, we have fine-tuned the warning algorithms to eliminate most false warnings.”

That’s all well and good, but the one time a deer did cross our path, there was no warning because we weren’t going fast enough to activate the pedestrian/animal warning. But we did find that the system is far more effective — and useful — in the city.

The biggest problem is that you have to take your eyes off the road to use it. You have to wonder why the display wasn’t mounted closer to the driver’s line of sight as it is in Mercedes S-Class models with Night View Assist Plus. Klapper says BMW wanted to take advantage of its high-resolution iDrive navigation display. That may be, but it detracts from any safety advantage the system might provide.

BMW’s done a good job advancing in-car night vision, but it remains to be seen whether consumers will embrace it with the same fervor as navigation systems and voice-activated controls. The technology’s future isn’t as clear as the image on the screen in the car.

Source: www.wired.com