DARPA Demos New Single-Chip Lidar

SWEEPER-Concept-Image-640x359Yesterday, DARPA announced the successful test of a single-chip laser detection and ranging system that makes it possible to build inexpensive, lightweight short-range “phased array” LADAR that could be mounted on small unmanned aircraft, robots, and vehicles. The technology could bring low-cost, solid-state, high-resolution 3D scanning to a host of devices in the near future.

Called SWEEPER (Short-range Wide-field-of-view Extremely agile Electronically steered Photonic EmitteR), the sensor technology embeds thousands of laser-emitting dots microns apart on a silicon chip—creating a “phased array” optical scanning system that can scan rapidly across a 51-degree arc without the need for mechanical rotation. In the latest test, the system was able to scan back and forth across that entire arc more than 100,000 times per second.

Bring it on!

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Uber’s Self Driving Car

uber-car-750xx579-326-0-27.0.0I am not a fan of Uber, it’s just not right that they don’t have to comply with the same rules as the taxis, but can you imagine having a self driving car pick you up? Looks like they are working on it according to this article in The Verge. That looks like a Velodyne sitting on the top of that mass of system pod. Looks like long term they would like to get rid of all of their drivers. Now that would be ironic.



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Riegl’s VUX-SYS Platform

The VUX-SYS with the new VUX-1LR Long Range LiDAR sensor integrated fits the small and lightweight RIEGLVP-1 pod, to be mounted on standard hard points and typical camera mounts of manned helicopters.

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Motion Contrast 3D Scanning

Bill Gutelius at Active Imaging came across this interesting research effort. Using motion contrast 3D scanning this group at Northwestern has solved the problem of the sun “swamping” the scanner.

“In order for a 3-D camera to be useful, it has to be something you can use in everyday, normal environments,” Cossairt said. “Outdoors is a part of that, and that’s something the Kinect cannot do, but our Motion Contrast 3-D scanner can.”
For more information, visit www.mccormick.northwestern.edu.

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3DEP Workshops in Progress

The U.S. Geological Survey National Geospatial Program is developing the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) to respond to growing needs for high-quality topographic data and for a wide range of other three-dimensional (3D) representations of the Nation’s natural and constructed features.

To expand awareness of 3DEP status and plans, as well as provide an open forum for 3DEP stakeholders to communicate and coordinate potential Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) proposals, the USGS is offering numerous state and regional coordination workshops. The meetings will be held throughout the US between early May and June 30th. Locations, dates, times and registration information can be found at: http://1.usa.gov/1IMab1H. The workshops will include in-person and/or virtual participation options.

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3D Camera Market Research

Brent Gelhar is working on a new 3D camera product concept and he is doing some market research. He needs people to take a quick survey.   It sounds like a great idea.

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Comparing Single Tree Detection Methods

forests-06-01721-agIn this study, eight airborne laser scanning (ALS)-based single tree detection methods are benchmarked and investigated. The methods were applied to a unique dataset originating from different regions of the Alpine Space covering different study areas, forest types, and structures. This is the first benchmark ever performed for different forests within the Alps.

The study provides new insight regarding the potential and limits of tree detection with ALS and underlines some key aspects regarding the choice of method when performing single tree detection for the various forest types encountered in alpine regions.

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Crowdsourced Restoration

Paul Tice from ToPa 3D is involved with a very interesting restoration project – The Arizona State Fairgrounds. He is looking to fund this in part via the Indiegogo crowdsourcing site.

From the website, “To complete the project from scanning to drawings in hand, we need $42,000. Our local community has already raised $7,000. Your contribution will enable us to capture the data, but will have longer value in that with the drawings in hand, the State Fairgrounds can begin much needed maintenance and also apply for State and Federal funding to restore these iconic buildings.”

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Lily Camera

There are few words to describe this – Lily the first throw-and-shoot camera.

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Lidar, Radar and Sonar

860 explainer lidarIf you need to explain to someone what the difference is between lidar radar and sonar here it is.

Scientists made up the words radar, sonar and lidar. Each reflects a technology’s usefulness:

·         Radar: ra(dio) d(etection) a(nd) r(anging)

·         Sonar: so(und) na(vigation) (and) r(anging)

·         Lidar: li(ght) d(etection) a(nd) r(anging)

Detection (or navigation) refers to locating objects. Depending on the technology, these objects may be underwater, in the air, on or below the ground, or even in space. Radar, sonar and lidar  can determine an object’s distance, or range. For that measurement, time plays an important role.

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