Sensing and measurement technologies deployed in response to the April 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico will be the subject of a special joint session of two conferences at SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing this year.
The symposium in Orlando, FL (USA), 25-29 April, will also include a plenary keynote by SPIE member Paul Lewis of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency on the lessons learned from the largest accidental oil spill in history. Lewis will discuss the evolution of U.S. airborne chemical and radiological remote sensing programs for emergency and natural disaster response and their importance and effectiveness.
Photonics technologies were used to monitor air quality in the Gulf of Mexico because of burns like this.
Aircraft in one of those programs, the Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology (ASPECT) project, flew more than 75 missions in the four months after the accident to provide air-quality monitoring during oil-burning operations in the Gulf. Infrared spectroscopy and multispectral infrared imagery acquired by ASPECT also aided disaster responders by characterizing and analyzing trends in the surface oil and locating suitable deposits of surface oil for skimmer vessels to contain and burn.
Lewis' talk is scheduled for Wednesday 27 April, as is the joint session of the Ocean Sensing and Monitoring conference and a new conference on Sensing Technologies for Global Health, Military Medicine, Disaster Response, and Environmental Monitoring.
The joint session on the marine oil spill will include presentations on radar satellite imagery, fluorometry, high-frequency radar, trajectory forecast systems, spectrometry, and other important tools in mitigating environmental disasters in the oceans. The new conference will cover those topics as well as technologies for disease surveillance, traumatic brain injury, and virtual reality exposure therapy for combat-related PTSD.
Emphasis on innovation
In addition to these events, more than 2400 unclassified technical presentations on sensors, security systems, and defense-related technologies will be presented at the symposium. Combined with a two-day job fair, a 500-company exhibition, more than 50 courses, and a special session on U.S. government funding, SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing puts a strong emphasis on connecting scientists and engineers with those who need optical and photonics solutions to the challenges they face.
DARPA director Regina Dugan, who has experience in technology development in the private sector as well as with the Department of Defense, will give the keynote talk at a symposium-wide plenary Tuesday 26 April.
More than 50 courses on sensors, signal processing, and other technologies used in civil and military applications will cover basic, intermediate, and advanced topics in:
• Lab-on-a-chip technology
• Military laser safety
• Infrared optics
• Radar micro-Doppler signatures
• Target and pattern recognition
• Unmanned and robotic systems
• U.S. trade and export regulations
• Chemical and biological detection
• Scanning microscopy in forensic science
Government funding session
SPIE Fellow Paul McManamon, retired from the U.S. Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), has organized the government funding session on Wednesday, 27 April.
Representatives from U.S. defense agencies will provide insights into probable areas of future funding available for businesses and researchers.
"If companies know what funding agencies want," McManamon says, "they can vector their efforts more precisely so they can solve a problem of interest to the funding agency, and therefore win future contracts."
Speaking on behalf of their agencies will be Joe Sciabica, executive director of the AFRL at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base; David L. Neyland, director of the Tactical Technology Office at DARPA, and Edward J. Baranoski, director of the new Office of Smart Collection for the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA).
McManamon, owner of Exciting Technology and former SPIE president, notes that connections made at the session benefit the funding agencies as well.
"They get industry working on the right problems that the agency needs solved," he says.
Networking and collaboration
A "Hot Topic" panel discussion moderated by John Pellegrino, director of the Computational and Information Sciences Directorate of the U.S. Army Research Lab (ARL), will bring another perspective on collaboration between industry and defense agencies. In a forum titled "Data to Decisions: Sensors are No Longer King," panelists are expected to take a holistic perspective and identify technology needs for making informed decisions on the battlefield. The panel is also scheduled for Wednesday, 27 April.
SPIE Fellow Colleen Fitzpatrick will be the speaker at an SPIE Women in Optics reception on Tuesday, 26 April. Fitzpatrick, a forensic genealogist and retired optical scientist, will discuss her role in identifying the remains of a serviceman who was aboard a commercial aircraft that crashed in Alaska in 1948.
Other special events organized by SPIE include
Early career professional networking social
Panel discussion on getting hired in 2011
Student lunch with the experts
SPIE Fellows luncheon, with DARPA's Larry B. Stotts giving a presentation on free space optical communication and submarine laser communication
Vendor presentations and IR images on display Monday evening
William Jeffrey, president and CEO of HRL Labs, is symposium chair. Kevin P. Meiners of the Office of the Secretary of Defense is symposium co-chair.
More information: SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing
Demonstrations and Displays at Exhibition
New technology demonstrations and displays will be located in the exhibition hall Tuesday 26 April through Thursday 28 April.
Cartwright to receive award for lifetime achievement
U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award and speak at an awards banquet at SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing, Wednesday 27 April.
Cartwright, the nation's second highest ranking military officer, serves on several Pentagon panels that oversee U.S. weapons purchasing and research funding. Cartwright chairs the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, co-chairs the Defense Acquisition Board, and serves as a member of the National Security Council Deputies Committee, the Nuclear Weapons Council, and the Missile Defense Executive Board.
In addition, he co-chairs the Deputies Advisory Working Group, which provides advice to the Deputy Secretary of Defense on resourcing and other high-level departmental business issues.
Meeting moves to Baltimore in 2012
The annual SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing symposium will have a new venue in 2012: Baltimore, MD, just 39 miles northeast of Washington, DC.
The move to an East Coast location closer to the U.S. capital will provide more opportunities to expand the conferences and exhibition.
The 2012 symposium will be held 23-27 April.
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