Boeing on Monday announced a new, compact, energy-efficient camera that takes three-dimensional images for military and commercial uses.
Developed jointly by Boeing's Directed Energy Systems arm and subsidiary Spectrolab, the camera was successfully tested in the last two years on mobile ground platforms and a Boeing AH-6 Little Bird helicopter.
The camera uses sensors developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory. It's the shape of a cube and is one-third the size and uses one-tenth the power of comparable 3D imaging cameras.
Boeing expects the camera to be deployed in unmanned aerial and ground vehicles that have little room or power to spare. (It can also be deployed in the air or even space.)
The customizable device can be used to map terrain, track targets and see through foliage.
Here's how it works: First, the camera fires a short pulse of laser light. Then it measures its flight time, allowing it to determine how far away each part of the camera's field of view is.
Boeing is currently working to integrate the camera into complete systems for unmanned aerial vehicles, with tests scheduled for spring. It plans to add 3D video capability soon.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com