Bodkin Design Receives Funding to Develop a Switchable Polarimetric Camera for Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Bodkin Design Receives Funding to Develop a Switchable Polarimetric Camera for Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Bodkin Design & Engineering, LLC (BD&E) has been awarded a Phase I SBIR contract from the U.S. Air Force to develop a switchable polarizing camera element. This device has the capability of switching from high-resolution IR imaging mode to a Polarimetric IR imaging mode when retrofitted to an IR camera. Surveillance using a polarization sensitive camera can improve the detection of targets under tree canopy, in camouflage and in cluttered environments.

Polarimetric imaging is useful in separating man-made objects, such as vehicles and buildings, from clutter in a reconnaissance scene. Flat surfaces on these objects partially polarize both reflected light and thermally emitted radiation. Current technology either uses multiple cameras with multiple filters or a single camera with time multiplexing. Multiple filters yield high resolution polarimetric images of the scene but results in large and expensive systems. Time multiplexing yields high resolution imagery but at a slower data rate and can suffer from temporal artifacts.

BD&E is designing an instrument that will map the polarimetric information simultaneously onto a single focal plane (division of focal plane), which eliminates temporal artifacts and makes a more rugged imager. This novel design is low in cost, robust and compact, and has no moving parts. The technology is easily adapted to existing camera systems, and can rapidly switch between polarimetric and high resolution imagery.
This 9 month project is funded by the Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR), a program established by the Small Business Administration Office to ensure that the nation’s small, high-tech, innovative businesses are a significant part of the federal government’s research and development efforts.

About Bodkin Design & Engineering

Bodkin Design and Engineering, LLC has been providing concept development, prototype design/build, and engineering services to commercial, military, international OEM, and research communities since 1992. Headquartered in Newton, Massachusetts, BD&E holds contracts with the US Army, Air Force, Navy, and the Missile Defense Agency for several highly competitive innovative optical engineering projects. In addition, BD&E has overseen the successful introduction of products ranging from miniature infrared cameras and spectrometers to heavy equipment for railroad yards. To learn more, visit the website at