Wide FOV Foveal Night Vision System
Navy SBIR FY2008.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2008.2
Topic No.: N08-161
Topic Title: Wide FOV Foveal Night Vision System
Proposal No.: N082-161-0956
Firm: Kent Optronics, Inc
40 Corporate Park Drive
Hopewell Junction, New York 12533
Contact: Haiping Yu
Phone: (845) 897-0138
Abstract: In this SBIR proposal, Kent Optronics, Inc. (KOI) proposes to develop a novel foveal night vision system (F-NVS) with wide field-of-view (FOV) for military activities in night and/or low-light-level environments. The critical element is the wide FOV objective subsystem with a passive wavefront compensator for achromatic and polarization insensitive wavefront compensation. The passive wavefront compensator is made special solid-state polymer material in multilayered film format with unique spatial patterns. The resulted F-NVS is compact, lightweight and low cost. Our preliminary design results via model simulation have proven that the F-NVS possesses the foveated imaging feature with the wide FOV to 90o (45o) and the high resolution >1.6 cycles/mrad. In Phase I, the objective and eyepiece subsystems will be designed. The concept of the foveal NVS will be demonstrated from a demo device through more detailed simulation on the system and the design of the passive wavefront compensator that is included in the system. The Phase I Option will start to develop such a wavefront compensator for the breadboard level demonstration of the F-NVS. Phase II and Phase III will develop and test the prototype of the wide FOV foveal NVS, followed by the product commercialization.
Benefits: This wide FOV foveal NVS answers the challenges in making a wide FOV with a high resolution. The F-NVS is compact, lightweight and low cost. Although the proposed WFOV F-NVS is specifically designed for meeting the Navy's requirement(s), it will also benefit the US Army, the Air Force, MDA and NASA. The enabled WFOV F-NVS will have the enlarged off-axis detection and added peripheral vision, which makes the aggressive head scanning unnecessary for aviators in maintaining the minimal situational awareness during night missions, and also minimize the possibility for disorientation, neck strain, and fatigue. In the case of the remote operation of an unmanned vehicle, if something enters the imaging systems FOV, the operator automatically rotates the NVG to focus on the potential threat by simply looking in that direction. This creates a so-called "telepresence" where the observations of the operator are as though he is in the unmanned vehicle by directly viewing the scene. The proposed WFOV F-NVS has the following long-waiting benefits to the helicopter community: (i) a wider field-of-view, (ii) high system resolution with foveated imaging feature, and (iii) ready to be adapted to the current NVG and PNVG, such as AN/AVS-6 and AN/AVS-9, and PNVG to enhance their resolution. Other features include: versatile operation on airborne, and space borne platforms (even on the ground). Broad applications in commercial fields include detecting and monitoring optical associated instruments whose performance can be significantly enhanced by the foveated imaging technology based on the passive multilayered wavefront compensator. The exemplary benefited instruments include the state-of-the-art goggle, telescope, and other imaging systems. The benefited application areas include law enforcement, lifeguard and policing, as well as night transportation, all of which have a huge market potential.