Wide Angle Lens Array Night Vision Optics
Navy SBIR FY2008.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2008.2
Topic No.: N08-160
Topic Title: Wide Angle Lens Array Night Vision Optics
Proposal No.: N082-160-0138
Firm: Spectral Imaging Laboratory
1785 Locust St. #10
Pasadena, California 91106-1614
Contact: Francis Reininger
Phone: (626) 578-0626
Abstract: The Naval Special Warfare Visual Augmentation Systems program has an interest in developing an 80 degree field of view (FOV) aviator night vision system (ANVIS) to more closely match the panoramic viewing capability of the unaided human eye. Standard ANVIS and night vision goggles, which are based on conventional optics, have only a 40 degree FOV. Increasing the FOV using conventional optical techniques would result in large, heavy systems that can cause neck strain in pilots. The Spectral Imaging Laboratory (SPILAB) proposes the development of curved lens array optics as a means of increasing the FOV while decreasing size, weight, and cost. The new lens array optics would have the additional advantage of an infinite depth of field. This could benefit pilots by enabling them to read nearby instrument panels through the optical system without the need to adjust focus when viewing outside the cockpit window.
Benefits: This research will provide the Navy with a distortion free, panoramic night vision system that does not require focus adjustment. The optics are based on a hot press molded, curved lens array technology that is ideally suited for low cost, high volume production. Commercial applications include robotics and autonomous wide area surveillance. Robots will benefit from the wide field of view, infinite depth of field attribute by using it to navigate more reliably through rugged terrain. The optics will enable real time navigation for autonomous flying robots that use the optical flow field to navigate. Robots designed to grasp objects will benefit from being able to view objects in focus at every distance.