Advanced Scientific Concepts, Inc. (ASC) was founded in 1987 for the purpose of developing cutting-edge sensors based on ASC Readout Integrated Circuit (ROIC) designs. One of those sensor systems, which eventually become known as 3-D Flash Ladar, was initially designed for underwater laser radar (ladar) imaging and later developed by ASC engineers and scientists into a dual-mode obscuration penetration and hard target 3-D imaging capability. ASC's 3-D Flash Ladar sensors are active, requiring a laser pulse to probe the external world and, via reflection, bring back range and intensity information.
In the early stages of development, typical sensor modalities, such IR imaging, begin capturing data by scanning a single pixel. A linear array is scanned as the technology develops and finally an entire frame of data is captured with a two-dimensional focal plane array (FPA). ASC cameras capture a whole frame of completely registered 3-D data with a single eye-safe laser pulse on a 3-D FPA and have leapfrogged over the preliminary stages. Because mechanical motion of objects is very slow compared to the velocity of light, even rapidly moving objects, such as missiles, are captured by the 3-D FPA as though stationary. There is no blurring as with ordinary 2-D cameras which integrate light over a time scale that may be long compared to the motion of the viewed object. By simply pulsing the laser fast enough, while reading out the data at the same rate, a dynamic, time dependent 3-D movie can be developed. Thus one way of looking at ASC technology is that ASC has created a 3-D video camera. But it is no ordinary 3-D camera. Each frame of data can be used to precisely measure the relative distances and dimensions of the objects in the camera field of view.
The analogy with a video camera also gives the correct impression of size and capability. The 3-D flash ladar camera is compact, lightweight and lenses can be interchanged for different fields of view; zoom optics is also possible. Furthermore, because the 3-D Flash Ladar camera captures a frame of data with each laser pulse, it can be effectively boresighted with high-resolution 2-D cameras for easy overlay or texturing. A computer can accurately regenerate the scene, as it would be seen if viewed by an observer located anywhere. The Cameras are useful for seeing through smoke, fog, camouflage, and in water. These capabilities are demonstrated with movies accessible on this website. – less – More from ZoomInfo »