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Old September 29th, 2004, 09:56 AM   #1
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Government RFQ

I just found the below camera spec in a government request for quote... wow, is such a thing out there? Wow.

...These cameras will be incorporated into existing test equipment which supports weapons and airframe testing at China Lake. The intended use of the cameras will be to capture visual evidence of ballistic impacts, fuel cell ullage ignitions, projectile velocities, and fragmentation patterns. The cameras shall meet the following minimum specifications: Frame rates from 60 to 100,000 frames per second; ability to utilize IRIG/GPS signals. They shall produce live video during recording, and be NTCS and PAL capable. Video shall have a minimum resolution of 1024 x 1024 pixels at 2000 frames per second. They shall process all of the following image formats: jpeg, avi, tiff, bmp, and raw. The cameras shall have all of the following triggering options: switch closure, open collector, ttl, and automatic. They shall have Firewire and Ethernet connectivity. They shall have Start, End, and Center recording modes. The cameras shall be capable of marking specific events within an image sequence in real-time. The cameras shall have the following data display characteristics: Frame rate, shutter speed, trigger mode, date, time, playback/record, frame count, and resolution. The camera lens mount shall be a C-mount. The cameras shall have 10 bit monochrome and 30-bit color CMOS sensors, and expanded memory to allow a recording time of 3 seconds utilizing a resolution of 1024 x 1024 at 4,000 fps. The cameras shall be compatible with Window 2000 and Windows XP. The cameras must meet the following environmental specification: 100g for 10 milliseconds and 50g for 100 milliseconds. A standard commercial warranty is required; the government desires a warranty for both parts and labor for a period ! of at least 1 year.
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Old September 30th, 2004, 02:13 AM   #2
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Why not with enough money. All the things on the list are possible
I think. For a price.

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Old October 1st, 2004, 06:49 PM   #3
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With current generation solid-state chilled night-vision technology, they might be calling in a spec which might be already achievable in monochrome by splitting the image into enough paths that the frame rate or something close to it can be achieved.
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Old October 3rd, 2004, 11:00 PM   #4
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I think their is only a couple of commercially available cameras that have that spec.

Bob, that monochrome image splitting, do you have links, I am looking at an application that needs that at the moment.

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Old October 4th, 2004, 03:21 AM   #5
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Sorry to cause false hopes. I was theorising about how it might be achieved within current technologies.

I understand some high speed film cams use a prism arrangement something like a Steenbeck editing deck which eliminate intermittent movement and allows a longer scan of the image over the film. (With nice bright light sources from things like atomic bombs, the problem of insufficient light level and film (CCD) sensitivity is more or less taken care of.)

My imagining of the CCD solution would be to split the image radially if it could be done simultaneously onto a circular array of CCDs of night vision sensitivity. These are becoming incredibly advanced to the point where they talk capability for individual photons to be counted.

Each CCD in turn would be triggered sequentially into doing its job somewhat like a large array of still cameras firing to freeze time but produce motion.

Astronomers use several frames from an individual CCD to achieve a single brighter image of a distant dim object.

In the high speed application, there would be enough CCDs used to enable a time stretch by overlapping their aquire-export-sweep clean cycles ( my paraphrase ).

Unlike the still-camera array time freeze, or like a slot aperture moving film still-camera (photo-finish, you know - race horses), they would have to have a fixed common image source.

A large panel of CCDs with separate lenses would be a bitch to align although it is already done with 3 x CCD wedges. Depending on how much light there is, there might be a need in the design to trigger several CCDs simultaneously in groups to enable layer-stacking of individual frames to get the brightness.

It would be an incredible software design challenge but I'm sure they have almost if not already got it beaten in existing technolgies in other applications.

My understanding of 3 x CCD wedges is that the color split is by color filtering at each CCD itself or in the final split optical paths to each. The prisms themselves would in that case convey a chomatically identical image toward each CCD. I imagine that divider chains of these prisms without filters in the paths might do the job in a more modest way without need for custom prisms.
The taking lens would have to be an incredible light gatherer however. Maybe that's why they want "C" mount. They may already have custom lenses.

Sorry again to have mislead you.
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Old October 4th, 2004, 04:35 PM   #6
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How much do think the government will end up paying per camera? And when will it ship?
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Old October 6th, 2004, 06:04 AM   #7
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Probably $50K+ on a discount, if large volume then lower. I think they go for much more than that normally. Now if they accepted a "wacky" custom made tender, the first one could have been upto a million and each additional one at least $50K. I'm just been objectively funny here, remberiing the jet fighter pilot seat flat washer, that cost $1600 (AU value) decades ago.
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Old October 7th, 2004, 11:07 AM   #8
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Kind of funny, I use cameras like these everyday on my job...I work in a missile test facility....Vision Research is a company that makes a system called the Phantom...It is completley digital and fast...I can shoot anywhere from 100fps to 100,000fps depending on the resolution and quality...Photron is another camera..I've seen some of their images on MythBusters on Discovery Channel..
There are other companies like NAC and DRS that make these as well...The Phantoms cost anywhere from $50k on up depending on memory.....
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Old October 7th, 2004, 12:01 PM   #9
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The last quotation I recieved for the Phantom (basic) was 93,000.
May be the 50K price is a quantity discount?
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Old October 7th, 2004, 02:11 PM   #10
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My boss just ordered a Phantom version 7 or 9 and it is over $90k..High speed color,finally...
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