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SPIE Defense, Security + Sensing 2011 Event News and Photos

Bookmark this page to follow the week's activities, and connect via #SPIEDSS on Twitter.

Thursday 28 April

Wednesday 27 April

Tuesday 26 April

Monday 25 April

Photo gallery from the event.

Thursday 28 April

Full house in Orlando

SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing exhibition

Just short of 6,400 attendees were in the final count on Thursday, with numbers particularly strong for exhibition visitors and technical attendees this year.

The exhibition continued active through the close of business in early afternoon, with companies already making plans to attend next year.

The 2012 event will move from Orlando to the Baltimore, Maryland, Convention Center. Dates are 23-27 April. Primary goals for the move are to improve the potential for growth, as the current site is nearly maxed out, and to move the timing away from the spring holidays and school breaks.

Harnessing Light 2: Photonics in the spotlight

Joe Buck, Harnessing Light II committee member

Joe Buck (Boulder Nonlinear Systems) was on hand to lead a town-hall session on the Harnessing Light 2 study now underway, under the auspices of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. Buck is a member of the high-level committee from the photonics community who are assessing the industry and will author a report that is intended to inform policy and support R&D directions.

Buck fielded questions on the committee's process and scope, and agreed with many in the audience that defining taxonomy -- what should fall under the definition of "photonics" -- and scope -- which activities should be included for a full study of photonics research and industry in the U.S. -- are among the major issues to be addressed.

GIS solutions

New tools and research models were covered in a panel discussion on Geographical/Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) Processing, moderated by Matthew F. Pellechia (ITT Corp. Geospatial Systems). Panelist focused on concerns such as use of information fusion, support of meta-data, production of challenge problems, adherence to open standards, generation of architectures, and detailed standards and metrics.

A well-attended poster reception -- the second of the week -- wrapped up the day's events, at the end of a full day in the conference rooms.

Wednesday 27 April

Technology for the global force


Technology matters -- in fact is "hugely leveraged" -- for the global workforce, Gen. James Cartwright told guests at the symposium awards banquet. Cartwright, Vice-Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, was awarded a Defense, Security, and Sensing Lifetime Achievement Award.

In his banquet keynote spech, Cartwright noted that that leveraging the capabilities of technology is even more important at a time when budgets are likely to be decreased. He described how sensing networks can use data to correlate activities to not only follow but predict where explosives might be planted or the movement patterns of lawbreakers, using systems that require fewer individuals to track activity with more accurate results.

Honors for outstanding work

Eustace Dereniak and Aydogan Ozcan

Aydogan Ozcan (Univ. of California, Los Angeles), at right above, was presented with the 2011 SPIE Early Career Achievement Award, by SPIE President-Elect Eustace Dereniak (Univ. of Arizona College of Optical Sciences).

SPIE Fellows

Five of this year's 67 new SPIE Fellows were honored; from left above are Fredric Marvin Ham (Florida Institute of Technology), Sanjay Krishna (Center for High Technology Materials), Susan Davis Allen (Univ. of Arkansas), Alexander Toet (TNO Defence Security and Safety), and Kalluri Sarma (Honeywell Technology).

A day for panels

Sensors hot topics panel

A cross-conference hot-topics panel on sensors kicked off the first of many panel sessions, with moderator John Pellegrino (Army Research Lab) and panelists exploring the topic, "Sensors are no longer king." Panelists above) included Robert Dixon (Office of Science and Technology Directorate for MASINT and Technical Collection), Charlie Flynn (MCCoE U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command), Jack Lemon (UK Ministry of Defence), Randy Avent (U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense), and Steven Rodgers (Air Force Research Lab).

Several conferences convened other panels, on a variety of topics:

  • Verification, Validation, and Accreditation, Conf. 8060, moderated by Eric Kemelis (EM Photonics)
  • Less-than-Lethal Technologies to Minimize Civilian Casualties, Conf. 8019, moderated by Tracy Tafolla (Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate)
  • Multisensor, Multisource Information Fusion: Architectures, Algorigthm, and Applications, Conf. 8064, moderated by Jerome Braun (MIT Lincoln Lab).

Government funding panel

A panel moderated by Paul McManamon (Air Force Research Lab, Rtd. , and Univ. of Dayton) on government funding trends and opportunities included (from left, above) Edward Baranoski (IARPA), David Neyland (DARPA), and Jeffrey Smith (Air Force Research Lab).

Deepwater spill and ocean sensing

Paul Lewis

Track plenary speaker Paul Lewis (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) told how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology (ASPECT) Program -- the country's only civil 24/7 operational airborne chemical, radiological, and situational awareness reporting capability -- has been applied in industrial accidents, homeland security situational awareness missions, and natural and anthropogenic disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

More perspectives on the Deepwater event was offered in joint session for Confs. 8029A (Sensing Technologies for Global Health, Military Medicine, Disaster Response, and Environmental Monitoring) and 8031 (Ocean Sensing and Monitoring) on Oil Spill and Ocean Monitoring. Papers covered topics such as mapping, measurement, modeling, and forecasting.

Early career: networking matters

Early Career Professionals meet Senior Member Theresa Axenson

A reception brought together early-career professionals and SPIE leaders, in an informal opportunity share information about challenges faced by those starting out and insights from those in established careers.

Exhibition continues strong


Crowds continued to pack the exhibition halls on Wednesday. Exhibiting companies reported strong satisfaction with the type of visitors coming through -- and with deals being made as a result.


Tuesday 26 April

'Swimming in sensors, drowning in data'

Regina Dugan, DARPA, plenary talk

DARPA Director Regina Dugan gave a Tuesday-morning overflow symposium plenary audience of more than 1,100 the first public briefing on the agency's new framework for global integrated ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance), aimed at maximizing the capabilities of both computing capabilities and federated processing. This “consolidated computer power,” is one of the newest challenges the agency faces, along with megatrends such as the power of large social networks and the challenge of dealing with data volume.

Photonics technology can answer many of the challenges faced in the field, including the need to accelerate development of solutions. DARPA is “an elite army of futuristic technogeeks,” she said, “and this is how we choose to serve our country.” (Read more in the SPIE press release.)

Harnessing Light 2

Paul McManamon, Harnessing Light 2 cochair

SPIE Fellow and Past President Paul McManamon briefed the plenary audience on progress toward the National Academy of Engineering update of the Harnessing Light report on the U.S. photonics industry. McManamon, who is cochair of the committee writing the report, invited attendees to a town-hall style meeting at 1 p.m. Thursday in the Cypress Foyer.

Show-and-tell: the exhibition

JEOL booth

Technology and new product demonstrations are a hallmark of the SPIE Defense, Security + Sensing exhibiton, and the nearly 500 exhibiting companies in the show's two halls were ready to show their latest applications and devices when the doors opened.

Among exhibitors in the Palms Ballroom were JEOL (above), demonstrating its portable scanning microscope capable of 200K magnification with applications in forensics, semiconductor manufacturing, and other fields ...

LaserMotive's Tom Nugent with Fox35 news crew

... and LaserMotive, showing its laser power beaming hardware with applications including transmitting electricity and moving vehicles.

Spectroscopic viewing at FLIR booth

Visitors entering the Cypress Ballroom had the opportunity to experience spectroscopic viewing at the FLIR booth as they began their tour of the aisles.

Xenics booth

Xenics was among several companies giving new product demonstrations.

Expert advice

Harold Szu with students

Students had an opportunity to meet and hear advice from experts in the field at a popular luncheon event. Conference chairs and Society leaders including Conf. 8058 Chair Harold Szu (center) shared insights on technology trends as well as career development.

Looking to hire

SPIE Career Center Job Fair

Fifteen companies interviewed potential new hires at the Job Fair sponsored by the SPIE Career Center. The number of companies participating in up substantially from last year.

'Hand in the snow': the cold-case file

Colleen FitzpatrickS

SPIE Fellow Colleen Fitzpatrick held the Women in Optics reception and presentation audience spellbound with the story of her work as part of a team seeking to identify remains found in an Alaska glacier in the late 1990s. As suspected, the remains were verified as those of one of 30 vicitms in a 1947 airplane crash.

Packed in for posters

Poster session

A hall full of viewers and authors gathered for the first of the week's two poster sessions. More than 850 attended the reception, where approximately 100 authors were on hand to provide an interactive perspective on their work.

Monday 25 April

IR Technologies and Applications

Strong first day in Orlando

Conferences saw strong attendance on opening day of SPIE Security, Defense, and Sensing, including more than 200 people in the room for sessions on Infrared Technologies and Applications where opening papers were from SOFRADIR, The Aerospace Corp., SCD Semicondcutor Devices, Thales Optronics, and others.

IR space detectors

Paper 8012-1 ("Sofradir latest developments for infrared space detectors," by Philippe Chorier, Patricia Pidancier, Yoanna-Reine Nowicki-Bringuier, Anne Delannoy, and Bruno Fieque of Sofradir) described how Sofradir develops and produces application-specific IR imaging systems for both tactical and space missions.

Current space applications include the Saturn imaging system at .4 to 2.5 microns with an array size of 1000x256 pixels. The system is rad-hardened and passed both shock and vibration testing for launch events. Other systems include the Neptune imaging system at 500x256 pixels and the Sentinel system for a European remote Sensing application.

The Sentinel system is designed specifically for monitoring vegetation and has a superspectral detector at 6 individual wavelengths. Each wavelength is in a 1298x1 detector array meant for a synthetic aperture optical approach. In 2011 Sofradir will have 5 imaging systems launched into orbit.

Laser tracking

Active target tracking advances were described in paper 8052-01, "Requirements on active (laser) tracking and imaging from a technology perspective," by Jim Riker (Air Force Research Lab). The technique employs a laser to illuminate the target and provide increased signal back to the detector.

The method has proved successful in the Airborne Laser program, the Airborne Tactical Laser program, and the Tactical High-Energy Laser program. Active tracking -- as compared to passive tracking which uses ambient sunlight -- improves the return signal-to-noise ratio, but its effectiveness is limited by the atmospheric variables, turbulence and spectral reflectance of the target. Thus future priorities are to improve detector technology.

Room-temperature Thz laser

In the keynote paper for the conference on Terahertz Physics, Devices, and Systems ("Toward realizing high-power semiconductor terahertz laser sources at room temperature," 8023-01) Manijeh Razeghi of Northwestern Univ. discussed the progress and varied approaches for reaching the goal of a compact, room-temperature, electrically driven, milliwatt terahertz (Thz) optical source.

Optical approaches include using quantum cascade lasers (QCL) in the far-infrared to generate Thz output or mixing the output from two far-spaced IR QCLs to generate a beat frequency in the Thz range in a nonlinear medium.

Deepwater spill analysis

Sylvia Shen (Aerospace Corp.) gave a detailed presentation (8048-18) on the analysis done one year ago using the EPA's Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology (ASPECT) to assess the environmental effects during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

Specifically, she focused on one part of the mission: locating, characterizing, and quantifying the oil covering the sea surface from the rig to the shore.

ASPECT acquired multispectral imagery, of which a number of analyses, such as emissivity and temperature analyses, were done.
To determine the difference between oil, seawater, an oil/seawater mix, land, and emulsified oil, an automated, unsupervised classification methodology was developed. This resulted in a sophisticated classification map that allowed the determination of whether BP's efforts to disperse the oil were effective.

The data did have challenges -- most notably the sun glint effects that required a high-pass filter for compensation. The filter itself created some artifacts that also needed to be mitigated.

Despite the challenges, Shen said, ASPECT was found to be very cost-effective, and the Coast Guard Incident Command found the resultant data to be key situational awareness information. The enhanced analysis capabilities significantly improved he success of the skimmer boat operations from 30 to over 95 percent, truly optimizing Coast Guard resources.

Data fusion in the real world

A panel moderated by Ivan Kadar (Interlink Systems Sciences) Chee-Yee Chong (BAE Systems) explored "Real-world issues and challenges in hard and soft fusion," as part of Conf. 8050. Invited-expert panelists explored issues around using both physics-based "hard" information and "soft" information from human sources.

New Fellows

SPIE President Elect presented pins to new Fellows of the Society at a luncheon attended by approximately 50 of the Society's Fellows. The 5 new Fellows out of 67 named by SPIE this year who are being honored this week are:

  • Susan Davis Allen, Arkansas State University
  • Fredric Marvin Ham, Florida Institute of Technology
  • Sanjay Krishna, Center for High Technology Materials
  • Kalluri Sarma, Honeywell Technology
  • Alexander Toet, TNO Defence Security and Safety.

Larry Stotts

Luncheon speaker SPIE Fellow Larry Stotts of DARPA (above) told why free space optical communication and submarine laser communication have come under serious consideration.

Imaging legacy, unmanned vehicles

The well-attended all-symposium welcome reception treated attendees to two technology demonstrations -- one long-standing and one cutting-edge.

StingRay image gallery

An imaging gallery sponsored by StingRay and SPIE featured the infrared, high-speed, and other technologies on which SPIE was originally founded, with entries ranging from professional applications to artistic renditions.

DSS11 Welcome Reception

Inside the reception hall, FLIR offered attendees a chance to race unmanned vehicles around an obstacle course, with heats broadcast onscreen.