Bodkin Design & Engineering Develops an Imager to Detect Buried IEDs
Bodkin Design & Engineering (BD&E) has been awarded a $1.6 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract by the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) for the research and development of a longwave infrared instrument. The device developed detects the spectral-polarization patterns that spot disturbed earth, indicating the presence of landmines and buried explosives.
Under this contract, BD&E developed the Spectral-Polarimetric Imager (SPI-640), a sensor that detects spectral patterns (Reststrahlen effect) and polarimetric changes due to the soil being overturned. The Reststrahlen effect is a spectral absorption pattern in the 8-9 μm wavelength range. When the ground soil is weathered, the smaller quartz particles are washed off the larger grains changing the spectral self-emission of the soil. Disturbing the soil removes this change, clearly indicating buried materials in the imagery. In addition to the Reststrahlen effect, the degree of linear polarization (DoLP) indicates disturbed earth. These two effects are complementary and, when used in conjunction with each other, maximize the detection in all soil types.
Additional application for this instrument includes defeating camouflage and detecting toxic chemicals. At 2.5 lbs., the battery-operated imager is lightweight enough to be carried by a UAV, mounted on a vehicle, or handheld.
SBIR funding allows small businesses like BD&E to develop innovative technologies that benefit both the DoD and the economy at large. BD&E has successfully converted SBIR research to commercial applications including thermal imaging for night vision, and spectral imaging for manufacturing, food analysis and biomedical research; and is currently paving the way for the next generation of new technologies.