Research Trend : 360-Degree Infrared Vision

Michael Dortch was building video surveillance trailers for industrial parks in Colorado when his clients started asking for near-omniscient views of their properties. They wanted to see intruders in the dark from all angles, but such coverage required up to seven thermal infrared cameras and cost more than $100,000. So Dortch and a colleague spent four years developing a cheaper, more capable alternative. Their Thermal Radar system provides 360-degree infrared coverage that can spot people, fires, vehicles, and more.

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The heart of the invention is a single, spinning thermal sensor. Onboard processors constantly stitch images together for a refreshing panoramic video feed, and intelligent software finds threats.

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A finished unit will cost about $16,000—many times cheaper than any system that comes close—and should be ready for its debut later this year. The first and biggest market will be corporate security. But the forest service, the Utah Department of Transportation, and even the Pentagon, Dortch says, also have his invention on their radar.

\its debut later this year. The first and biggest market will be corporate security. But the forest service, the Utah Department of Transportation, and even the Pentagon, Dortch says, also have his invention on their radar.

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