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3D camera

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The Boeing Company has introduced a compact, energy-efficient camera that provides 3D images for military and commercial applications.

Boeing Directed Energy Systems and wholly owned Boeing subsidiary Spectrolab have jointly developed the camera using their own research and development funding, and successfully tested it over the past two years by attaching it to mobile ground platforms and a Boeing AH-6 Little Bird helicopter. Equipped with advanced sensors developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory and transferred to Boeing under a teaming arrangement, the cube-shaped camera is compact and power-efficient.

The camera, which Boeing can customise for each customer, has many potential uses, including mapping terrain, tracking targets and seeing through foliage. To create a 3D image, the camera fires a short pulse of laser light, then measures the pulse's flight time to determine how far away each part of the camera's field of view is.

The camera combines cutting-edge sensor technology with Boeing's advanced pointing and tracking solutions and real-time processing. Boeing is currently integrating the camera into compact 3D imaging payloads on unmanned aerial vehicles and will be testing that capability this spring. The team will also add 3D video capability to the camera soon to complement its existing still-image capability.

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