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SPIE Professional April 2013

SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing returns to Baltimore

Annual technical event, 29 April through 3 May.

By Karen Thomas

SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing symposium image

SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing (DSS) returns to Baltimore, MD, 29 April with a continued focus on advancing technologies for sensing and security challenges and strengthening innovative teaching methods for the next generation of photonics researchers.

The exhibition at the Baltimore Convention Center will include 500 suppliers, along with a student demonstration of an aerospace reconnaissance system that was part of a high-school space-science research program. A special demonstration showcase will feature the “Virtusphere,” flight simulators, unmanned aerial vehicles, and other interactive technologies.

DSS runs through 3 May, with the free exhibition occurring from 30 April to 2 May. Retired Maj. Gen. Ken Israel of the U.S. Air Force is chair of the event.

New conferences on optical space communications, flexible electronics, and next-generation analysis will join established conferences in topics such as infrared systems; lidar; radar; display technologies; unmanned systems and robotics; cyber protection; biometric technology for human identification; sensor data analysis; and energy harvesting and storage.

More than 2300 presentations are expected to be made during the week in 55 conferences covering non-classified advances in robotics, IR detectors, chemical sensors, high-speed imaging systems, ocean sensing, displays, and related topics. SPIE is also offering 50 courses onsite, an educators’ workshop, a two-day Job Fair, and several other special events.

Arati Prabhakar, director of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and a long-time leader in research and high-tech fields, is the plenary speaker for Arati Prabhakar photoMonday, 29 April.

She has spent her career investing in world-class engineers and scientists to create new technologies and businesses. Her first service to national security started in 1986 when she joined DARPA as a program manager. She initiated and managed programs in advanced semiconductor technology and flexible manufacturing, as well as demonstration projects to insert new semiconductor technologies into military systems.

As the founding director of DARPA's Microelectronics Technology Office, she led a team of program managers whose efforts spanned these areas, as well as optoelectronics, infrared imaging, and nanoelectronics.

Technology demonstrations throughout the week

A special showcase at the exhibition, “New Technology Demos and Displays,” will include the Virtusphere, a virtual-reality locomotion simulator for military, law enforcement, firefighting, and other training for hazardous environments. Inside the 10-foot hollow sphere, a user wears a wireless, head-mounted display and can walk, jump, roll, crawl, or run over virtually unlimited distances without encountering real-world obstacles.


Virtusphere will demonstrate its VR training platform at SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing.

Other technologies for demonstration and display include laser propulsion, high-performance imaging, flight simulators, and the Mobile Aerospace Reconnaissance System (MARS).

The MARS system has several Kineto Tracking Mounts (KTMs) used to telescopically track and image aircraft, rockets, orbiting spacecraft, and hypersonic test vehicles. MARS’ telescopes provide high-resolution visible, infrared, and spectral imaging, and can be configured for manned or unmanned operation.


The Kineto Tracking Mounts on the MARS system can telescopically track and image aircraft, rockets, spacecraft, and other objects.
Focus on science education

The demonstration is also a showcase of sorts for inspiring young people to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). At the exhibition, two students, former members of a high-school photonics research program, will demonstrate a fully powered MARS KTM.

“These two are wonderful examples of how providing students with high-level opportunities in photonics can be life-changing,” says Ron Dantowitz of the Clay Center Observatory (USA), which sponsors the high-school space-science program. “Obviously, experiences such as these enhance the possibility of their continuing in various STEM fields.”

The free DSS exhibition features 500 vendors showing the latest innovations in optics, lasers, sensors, image processing, spectroscopy, infrared systems, and optoelectronic components.

Brigitte Berman and Yiannis Karavas will demonstrate the Mobile Aerospace Reconnaissance System at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Microscopy for science educators

Also for science educators at DSS, SPIE Fellow Michael Postek and Mary Satterfield of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (USA) and Robert Gordon of Hitachi High Technologies America (USA) will lead a workshop on using microscopy in the teaching of science and technology.

“Microscopy for STEM Educators” will feature examples of successful programs implementing microscopy in STEM education to foster student interest and excitement. A hands-on session with tabletop scanning electron microscopes will be held at the end of the presentations and the attendees will operate the instruments.

Lifetime Achievement Award for Letitia Long

photo of Letitia LongIn honor of her many contributions to the defense sector, Letitia Long will receive the Defense, Security, and Sensing Lifetime Achievement Award 1 May.

Long cracked the glass ceiling for combat support when she became the first female director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) in 2010. Before that, Long served as deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and was the deputy undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence (Policy, Requirements, and Resources). Long also served in senior posts at Naval Intelligence and Intelligence Community Affairs at the Central Intelligence Agency.

Sessions on security sensor challenges

In one of several special industry and technical sessions, three U.S. national security leaders will discuss emerging sensor needs and challenges that must be overcome to provide security in the 21st Century.

Panelists on Wednesday, 1 May will address long-term breakthrough sensing challenges as well as nearer-term cost, size, and weight improvements to enable new mission capabilities.

Panelists are Stefanie Tompkins, deputy director of the Strategic Technology Office, DARPA; Peter Highnam, director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA); and Walter F. Jones, executive director of the Office of Naval Research.

Symposium co-chair David Whelan of Boeing Defense, Space and Security (USA) will serve as moderator.

Career development and networking events

Networking events will include a panel discussion on getting hired in 2013 and beyond and a student “Lunch with the Experts.”

Robert Kester, CTO of Rebellion Photonics, will make a presentation at a reception for early career professionals on Tuesday, 30 April.

Rebellion Photonics, begun at Rice University in 2009, commercialized a unique snap-shot hyperspectral video platform used in biological research, UAV markets, and for leak imaging in the oil and gas industry. The camera won a 2012 R&D 100 Award, and co-founder Allison Lami Sawyer was named one of “30 Under 30” entrepreneurs for 2012 in Inc. Magazine.

Forum and course on U.S. export controls

ITARAn expert in international trade law will lead an open forum and teach a course on International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) at SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing on Wednesday 1 May.

Kerry T. Scarlott of Goulston & Storrs will address the requirements of the law covering all manufacturers, exporters, and brokers of defense articles, services, or related technical data.

Discussion at the open forum will center on critical export control issues confronting the optics and photonics industry and key techniques for increasing defense-related business.

Scarlott will address the top 10 myths about export controls, including the notion that registering a company with the State Department constitutes a compliance certification.

For those wanting more in-depth information, Scarlott will also teach a course on complying with ITAR.

To view or register for this or other courses, go to www.spie.org/dsscourse.

Industry sessions on "big data"

Challenges of processing “big data” will be the subject of several special events during the weeklong SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing symposium.

Technical and industry events include three panel discussions on aspects of information fusion.

Srikanta Kumar, Chee-Yee Chong, and Ivan Kadar will moderate a panel discussion on Monday 29 April on processing big data, specifically as applied to information fusion.

Jerome J. Braun will moderate a discussion on information fusion and robotics, 1 May, and Shiloh L. Dockstader will moderate a discussion on Thursday on Synergistic Data Fusion through Multi-Sensing Enablement.

A workshop on early-stage IR technology commercialization on Wednesday morning is also part of a large industry program. Joseph X. Montemarano will moderate a panel from U.S. government laboratories, venture capital community, and industry.

Papers from DSS will be published in the SPIE Digital Library as soon as manuscripts are approved by conference chairs.

For more information: www.spie.org/dss.

Have a question or comment about this article? Write to us at spieprofessional@spie.org.

To receive a print copy of SPIE Professional, the SPIE member magazine, become an SPIE member.



DOI: 10.1117/2.4201304.18

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