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Proceedings Paper

Photo-acoustic and video-acoustic methods for sensing distant sound sources
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Paper Abstract

Long range telescopic video imagery of distant terrestrial scenes, aircraft, rockets and other aerospace vehicles can be a powerful observational tool. But what about the associated acoustic activity? A new technology, Remote Acoustic Sensing (RAS), may provide a method to remotely listen to the acoustic activity near these distant objects. Local acoustic activity sometimes weakly modulates the ambient illumination in a way that can be remotely sensed. RAS is a new type of microphone that separates an acoustic transducer into two spatially separated components: 1) a naturally formed in situ acousto-optic modulator (AOM) located within the distant scene and 2) a remote sensing readout device that recovers the distant audio. These two elements are passively coupled over long distances at the speed of light by naturally occurring ambient light energy or other electromagnetic fields. Stereophonic, multichannel and acoustic beam forming are all possible using RAS techniques and when combined with high-definition video imagery it can help to provide a more cinema like immersive viewing experience. A practical implementation of a remote acousto-optic readout device can be a challenging engineering problem. The acoustic influence on the optical signal is generally weak and often with a strong bias term. The optical signal is further degraded by atmospheric seeing turbulence. In this paper, we consider two fundamentally different optical readout approaches: 1) a low pixel count photodiode based RAS photoreceiver and 2) audio extraction directly from a video stream. Most of our RAS experiments to date have used the first method for reasons of performance and simplicity. But there are potential advantages to extracting audio directly from a video stream. These advantages include the straight forward ability to work with multiple AOMs (useful for acoustic beam forming), simpler optical configurations, and a potential ability to use certain preexisting video recordings. However, doing so requires overcoming significant limitations typically including much lower sample rates, reduced sensitivity and dynamic range, more expensive video hardware, and the need for sophisticated video processing. The ATCOM real time image processing software environment provides many of the needed capabilities for researching video-acoustic signal extraction. ATCOM currently is a powerful tool for the visual enhancement of atmospheric turbulence distorted telescopic views. In order to explore the potential of acoustic signal recovery from video imagery we modified ATCOM to extract audio waveforms from the same telescopic video sources. In this paper, we demonstrate and compare both readout techniques for several aerospace test scenarios to better show where each has advantages.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 May 2017
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 10204, Long-Range Imaging II, 1020408 (15 May 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2263889
Show Author Affiliations
Dan Slater, Consultant (United States)
Stephen Kozacik, EM Photonics, Inc. (United States)
Eric Kelmelis, EM Photonics, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10204:
Long-Range Imaging II
Eric J. Kelmelis, Editor(s)

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