Fly-By Forestry Takes Off
Remote Sensing
Graduate

Remote laser imaging can measure the health and density of forests, allowing scientists to observe large swaths of vital ecosystems all at once.

Dec. 16, 2014
Catherine Clabby

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Despite some scattered recent gains, the world’s forests are in trouble. From 2000 to 2012, the planet lost a net total of 1.5 million square kilometers of forestland, according to a 2013 survey based on NASA satellite data. Much of the decline was due to deforestation in Brazil, Indonesia, and other tropical countries, but there have been many other setbacks as well. In the western United States, for instance, trees face an onslaught of wildfires, insect infestations, and drought. The assaults persist despite a growing awareness of the ecological value of forests, particularly their ability to absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide and sequester carbon.

As they formulate ways to protect endangered woodlands and rehabilitate ones already lost, scientists and governments need detailed information on the structures and vulnerabilities of forests around the world. Traditional ground-based surveys lack sufficient scope, so scientists are turning to another way to take the measure of the trees: light detection and ranging, or LiDAR, remote-imaging technology. Airplane-borne LiDAR scanners shoot 100,000 pulses of laser light per second to record the distance to the ground. From those data, researchers can measure the shape, type, and density of forest cover over tens of thousands of square kilometers. “That is the real power of LiDAR,” says Van Kane, an ecologist at the University of Washington who uses the technique extensively. “We can build tremendously large databases.”

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In one notable recent study, Kane and his colleagues used LiDAR to observe how fires of various intensities affect the forests in Yosemite National Park. Some fires are known to help keep forests healthy by creating gaps in their canopies that enable new growth. Kane’s LiDAR-based studies show more specifically that low- severity fires produce favorable density changes in areas dominated by red fir forests, but fires of moderate severity are needed to improve areas dominated by ponderosa and white fir–sugar pine trees. Kane has also combined airborne LiDAR with satellite vegetation data to study how natural fires alter tree density of Yosemite forests. They do so in more irregular ways than was previously known, creating variable mosaics of tree clumps. Those studies will aid forest managers designing controlled burns or mechanical thinning to mimic natural fire’s positive effects.

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Now the drive is on to make LiDAR even more useful. For instance, airborne LiDAR discerns only modest amounts of detail below the outer canopy in dense forests, so researchers are trying to fill the gap by adding measurements made with ground-based LiDAR. David Kelbe, a doctoral student in imaging science at Rochester Institute of Technology, recently adapted an industrial LiDAR device to create a portable scanner that can be carried into the woods. There, it can be used to acquire diameter data along the full length of tree trunks with enough detail to model three-dimensional trees. Such data could be useful for commercial forest inventories and for habitat studies, and also for calibrating across the different types of LiDAR studies. “We could take advantage of the fine-scale resolution by linking it to the large geographic coverage by an airborne or space-borne platform,” Kelbe says.

Carnegie Airborne Observatory earth scientist Greg Asner merges up-close and remote observations to get as near as possible to ground truth in tropical forests. He creates carbon maps, geographically accurate models depicting the density of vegetation in the forests; the more abundant the vegetation, the more carbon is sequestered in its roots, stems, and leaves.

To build these maps, Asner combines airborne LiDAR data with non-LiDAR research plot observations, rainfall records, and space-based measurements. By developing algorithms to extract high-resolution vegetation maps from archival data taken by the Landsat satellite, he quickly acquired a vast—and free—satellite data set.

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Following this approach, Asner has mapped large swaths of the Amazon River basin, Peru, Panama, and Hawaii to pinpoint where carbon sinks most urgently need protecting. He feels the urgency of his work: It can take decades to rebuild a damaged forest into a carbon sink, but almost no time at all to cut or burn a forest down. “So we integrate satellite data with the airborne LiDAR in order to scale up,” Asner says. “This helps to greatly reduce cost and improve our speed.”

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Original Source: American Scientist

RIT project wins funding in NYS Regional Economic Development Councils competition
General

Award, received as part of Finger Lakes Council allocation, will be used to generate jobs

Dec. 12, 2014
Ellen Rosen

Rochester Institute of Technology has received $1.5 million from New York state to fund a new economic development project — MAGIC Spell Studios.

The funding was included in the $80.7 million awarded to the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council at a ceremony today (Dec. 11) in Albany. The awards were part of the fourth annual round in which 10 regional councils across the state competed for a piece of $709.2 million in grants and tax breaks.

“We are very excited about the MAGIC Spell Studios project, and what it will mean for our region,” said RIT President Bill Destler. “We appreciate Gov. Cuomo and the regional council’s support of this project, which we believe will capitalize on work being done at RIT to add great economic value to our community.”

The money will go toward construction of a new building for MAGIC Spell Studios, allowing RIT to create a program that will link the university’s academic programs with high tech facilities needed to commercialize computer gaming, film and animation, graphic design and imaging science projects.

RIT is already a recognized leader in these fields. Among the graduates of its nationally ranked School of Film and Animation are several Academy Award winners. Its game design and development program is ranked among the top in the country, and its alumni are leaders across the technology industry.

MAGIC Spell Studios will capitalize on RIT’s unique academic and research programs to become the center of a regional hub for these industries, attracting and nurturing student entrepreneurs who will drive regional economic development through the creation of businesses.

“We expect that this facility will be a magnet for companies in these industries to co-locate with RIT for access to our students, graduates and faculty conducting research in these areas,” said Jeremy Haefner, RIT provost and senior vice president of academic affairs. “It will leverage our existing strengths to develop and nurture entrepreneurs and drive innovation.”

Part of the goal is to retain the many talented graduates who now must move elsewhere in the country to find employment opportunities.

“We are currently producing the talent that drives these industries around the world,” Destler said. “With MAGIC Spell Studios, we can put Rochester on the map as a national contender. It’s time to engage that talent and grow businesses right here.”

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Original Source: University News

‘Smart dust’ technology could reshape space telescopes
Astronomy and Space Science
Faculty/Staff
Graduate

RIT scientist and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory explore adaptive optical imaging

Dec. 1, 2014
Susan Gawlowicz

201412/groverswartzlander.jpg

A. Sue Weisler

Grover Swartzlander, associate professor at RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, is a co-investigator on an RIT and NASA team exploring a new type of space telescope with an aperture made of swarms of particles released from a canister and controlled by a laser.

Telescope lenses someday might come in aerosol cans.

Scientists at Rochester Institute of Technology and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory are exploring a new type of space telescope with an aperture made of swarms of particles released from a canister and controlled by a laser.

These floating lenses would be larger, cheaper and lighter than apertures on conventional space-based imaging systems like NASA’s Hubble and James Webb space telescopes, said Grover Swartzlander, associate professor at RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science and Fellow of the Optical Society of America. Swartzlander is a co-investigator on the Jet Propulsion team led by Marco Quadrelli.

NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts Program is funding the second phase of the “orbiting rainbows” project that attempts to combine space optics and “smart dust,” or autonomous robotic system technology. The smart dust is made of a photo-polymer, or a light-sensitive plastic, covered with a metallic coating.

“Our motivation is to make a very large aperture telescope in space and that’s typically very expensive and difficult to do,” Swartzlander said. “You don’t have to have one continuous mass telescope in order to do astronomy—it can be distributed over a wide distance. Our proposed concept could be a very cheap, easy way to achieve large coverage, something you couldn’t do with the James Webb-type of approach.”

An adaptive optical imaging sensor comprised of tiny floating mirrors could support large-scale NASA missions and lead to new technology in astrophysical imaging and remote sensing.

Swarms of smart dust forming single or multiple lenses could grow to reach tens of meters to thousands of kilometers in diameter. According to Swartzlander, the unprecedented resolution and detail might be great enough to spot clouds on exoplanets, or planets beyond our solar system.

“This is really next generation,” Swartzlander said. “It’s 20, 30 years out. We’re at the very first step.”

Previous scientists have envisioned orbiting apertures but not the control mechanism. This new concept relies upon Swartzlander’s expertise in the use of light, or photons, to manipulate micro- or nano-particles like smart dust. He developed and patented the techniques known as “optical lift,” in which light from a laser produces radiation pressure that controls the position and orientation of small objects.

In this application, radiation pressure positions the smart dust in a coherent pattern oriented toward an astronomical object. The reflective particles form a lens and channel light to a sensor, or a large array of detectors, on a satellite. Controlling the smart dust to reflect enough light to the sensor to make it work will be a technological hurdle, Swartzlander said.

Two RIT graduate students on Swartzlander’s team are working on different aspects of the project. Alexandra Artusio-Glimpse, a doctoral student in imaging science, is designing experiments in low-gravity environments to explore techniques for controlling swarms of particle and to determine the merits of using a single or multiple beams of light.

Swartzlander expects the telescope will produce speckled and grainy images. Xiaopeng Peng, a doctoral student in imaging science, is developing software algorithms for extracting information from the blurred image the sensor captures. The laser that will shape the smart dust into a lens also will measure the optical distortion caused by the imaging system. Peng will use this information to develop advanced image processing techniques to reverse the distortion and recover detailed images.

“Our goal at this point is to marry advanced computational photography with radiation-pressure control techniques to achieve a rough image,” Swartzlander said. “Then we can establish a roadmap for improving both the algorithms and the control system to achieve ‘out of this world’ images.”

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Original Source: University News

Imaging science students showcase deer alert system at Imagine RIT
Graduate
Innovative Freshmen Experience
Student Stories

The concept for a high-tech deer-alert system that could make nighttime driving safer will be on display in the Gordon Field House during Imagine RIT on May 3.

Apr. 25, 2014
Susan Gawlowicz

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The cohort of imaging science Ph.D. students finishing its first year in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science will exhibit a deer-alert system at Imagine RIT on May 3. Shown in the top row, left to right, are Doug MacDonald, Kamran Binaee, Brittany Ambeau, Kevan Donlon, Viraj Adduru, Zichao Han and Yue Wang. In the bottom row, left to right, are Justin Harms, Utsav Gewali, Jie Yang, Yansong Liu, Osborn de Lima, Kelly Anderson, Zhaoyu Cui, Shusil Dangi, Lauren Taylor and Colin Axel. Not shown is Chi Zhang.

First-year Ph.D. students in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science built a long-range infrared dual camera system to warn drivers of deer in their vicinity. The project was assigned to the cohort with the Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival on May 3 as a deadline.

“A big problem in the Northeast is the frequency of cars hitting deer, often between 1 and 3 a.m.,” said Roger Dube, professor in the Center for Imaging Science and facilitator of the introductory class for incoming Ph.D. students. “Our vision at night is limited to the region exposed in the headlights, which is at most a couple of hundred feet. At normal driving speeds, this doesn’t give the driver enough time to react.”

Working in teams, the students designed and built a system to see in the dark and warn the driver of nearby deer. Their proof of concept—tested on a big truck—integrates subsystems that collect data with thermal infrared cameras, process the imagery and communicate the proximity of deer within a quarter mile of the vehicle.

The system begins with two thermal infrared cameras mounted on top of a vehicle. The cameras, pointing in opposite directions, read information at far infrared wavelengths and detect heat given off by living things. “Hot” signatures are juxtaposed to the “cool” fingerprints of trees, buildings and other inanimate objects in the surroundings.

The students’ algorithms process images capturing heat from the deer’s bodies. These hot areas in the image are extracted from the background and matched to the templates of deer images the students created.

If there’s a positive match, the deer’s location is passed to a communication system comprised of speakers and 12 lasers mounted on the back of the vehicle with corresponding reflective dots on the windshield.

“The speaker will start beeping faster as you get closer to the deer and the dots with lasers will align where the deer is so the driver doesn’t have to take his eyes off the road,” said Colin Axel ’13 (B.S., imaging science), a Ph.D. student from Rochester. “The whole point is that we don’t want to take the driver’s eyes off the road at the moment when it is most important for them to pay attention.”

The team of Ph.D. students will display the project in subsystems at their booth in the Gordon Field House. They will demonstrate each of the components that create the overall system.“We will have a controlled demonstration of how the whole system operates,” said Justin Harms, a Ph.D. student and a U.S. Air Force officer from St. Louis. “We will also have other experiments using color and thermal cameras, where you can grasp the concept of looking at something not by its color but by how hot it is. You won’t see the room as you would normally see it; you see it as how hot or cold it is.”

The cohort of imaging science Ph.D. students who worked on the deer-alert system includes Doug MacDonald, Kamran Binaee, Brittany Ambeau, Kevan Donlon, Viraj Adduru, Zichao Han, Yue Wang, Justin Harms, Utsav Gewali, Jie Yang, Yansong Liu, Osborn de Lima, Kelly Anderson, Zhaoyu Cui, Shusil Dangi, Lauren Taylor, Colin Axel and Chi Zhang.

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Original Source: University News

RIT on TV: WiSTEE Connect
WiSTEE
Faculty/Staff

Time Warner Cable News reports on the "LEAN IN Together with WiSTEE Connect" forum at RIT, hosted by Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Entrepreneurship Connect. 

Apr. 29, 2014

WiSTEE Connect—founded and chaired by Jie Qiao, associate professor in RIT's Center for Imaging Science—promotes women's leadership in science, technology, engineering and entrepreneurship; bridges the gap between science, technology and business; and provides a forum to learn, connect and lead.

Original Source: University News

CIS alumnus and current Ph.D. student featured on WXXI Radio Show "Connections"
Graduate
Innovative Freshmen Experience
Alumni

Connections: A Preview of Imagine RIT

Evan Dawson chats with those involved with Imagine RIT festival about what attendees can expect when they visit the festival on Saturday

Apr. 30, 2014
Evan Dawson

LISTEN

Imagine RIT will draw thousands of people this Saturday, May 3, to the one-day innovation festival. So what are the innovations on display? We chat with Barry Culhane, chairman and founder of Imagine RIT and Heather Cottone, chair of programs for Imagine RIT.

We then talk with the following innovators who will present their works at the festival:

Sean Cooper, a student presenting a Motion Picture Science Holodeck

Colin Axel, a student presenting the Vehicle Hazard Detection and Alert System

Brendan Gordon, a student presenting Imagine Soap

     

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Original Source: WXXI News

STEM Dilemma: US is not producing enough talent despite high demand
Remote Sensing
Faculty/Staff

Please note this correction to the following article: The CIS high school internship program is unpaid and is 6 weeks long.

May. 1, 2014
Melanie D.G. Kaplan

Ask a leader in the field of geospatial sciences about the inspiration that long ago catapulted him or her down a certain career path, and you’re likely to hear about one pivotal moment.

For the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) InnoVision Director Doug McGovern, it was the race to the moon.

“That was a huge catalyst for my interest in science and technology,” he said.

But McGovern and his peers are quick to admit they face a rocky road in preparing today’s young people for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)—and that academic curricula needs to reflect the quickly changing and expanding needs of employers.

But it starts with getting students excited about learning and raising awareness about the many opportunities in geospatial science.

“How do we inspire that same passion in people today?” McGovern asked.

This was among the questions raised at a panel briefing on Capitol Hill in December, where representatives from the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF), NGA, industry, and academia gathered to discuss the lack of a strong STEM pipeline and what it means for the nation’s geospatial workforce of the future.

“The demand is tremendous,” said Michael Richardson, a researcher at Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) Carlson Center for Imaging Science (CIS). “In the past decade, we have achieved 100 percent placement for our graduates.”

Currently, the graduate program has approximately 100 students, but RIT’s goal is to double enrollment in the next few years. CIS offers a paid, 12-week internship for high school juniors, which exposes them to imaging science and acts as a recruitment tool for the undergraduate program. But even with such outreach, finding qualified students is challenging.

According to the National Science and Technology Council, demand for professionals in STEM fields is projected to outpace the supply of trained workers. A 2012 report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology estimates U.S. industries will be about one million STEM graduates short within the next decade.

USGIF CEO Keith Masback said furthermore, national security jobs aren’t easily filled with young, international talent, as is the case with many other industries.

“There are unique challenges when it comes to national security, and you can’t outsource it,” he said. “That, by definition, limits the scope even further.”

Roadblocks to growing the STEM pool include real and perceived obstacles.

“Starting with elementary school, STEM are perceived to be difficult topics,” said Peggy Agouris, acting dean of George Mason University’s College of Science and a USGIF board member. “But also, these are cumulative fields. So if there is a gap in knowledge, it’s hard to catch up later on.”

The U.S. population as a whole is unfamiliar with the range of jobs in geospatial sciences, even though they drive applications we use daily – from Foursquare to Google Maps. This is a problem when it’s time for parents and teachers to guide students. For those who have heard of the field, Agouris said, shows like “The Big Bang Theory,” where an awkward physicist meets a pretty girl, don’t help matters, Agouris said.

“You may laugh, but it’s true, and it’s done significant damage to recruiting in the STEM field,” Agouris said. “I’ve heard qualified kids say they don’t want to go to a strong STEM school because it’s for geeks.”

Young professionals agree K-12 exposure is imperative, and are becoming more involved with raising awareness. Sam Unger, a member of USGIF’s Young Professionals Group (YPG) who works at TASC, led an effort last year to help seniors at a Northern Virginia high school with GIS projects. This year, the mentoring initiative is expanding to more schools.

“Kids get really excited when they not only understand the application, but when they get things that they use on a daily basis,” Unger said.

There are countless ways to capture students’ imaginations and get them fired up about STEM.

“For any of these kids, it’s a trip to an air show, a NASA facility, or a movie that inspired them, and that was enough to say, ‘I think I want to do this,’” Masback said. “But without a concerted, collaborative effort among academia, industry, and the government, there won’t be an infrastructure to educate and train them with the knowledge and skills to follow that dream. It takes a village.”

To learn more about the YPG, contact Carrie Drake at carrie.drake@usgif.org.

Related articles: 

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Original Source: Trajectory Magazine

Engineering students build and install camera rig for Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC
Faculty/Staff
Cultural Artifact and Document Imaging

Senior design project becomes part of museum’s equipment for imaging permanent exhibits

May. 19, 2014
Michelle Cometa

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RIT engineering students worked with staff at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to install a portable camera rig they designed and built this past year. They worked with Susan Farnand from RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science and Barbara Bridgers, general manager for imaging at the museum, on design specifications for the custom rig.

It became much more than a senior design project when the engineering students set foot in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. In October, when on an initial trip to collect information for the project, most had never been to the museum, let alone New York before. On Thursday, May 15, after several months of work, their custom-made camera rig became a part of the museum’s operations and imaging efforts.

Seven students from the Kate Gleason College of Engineering delivered and installed a Vertical X-Y Camera Rig they designed and built for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They had worked over the past academic year with Susan Farnand, assistant researcher in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, to upgrade a stationary, ceiling-mounted camera rig in the museum’s imaging studio used to take high-resolution images of artwork. But the museum also had other works of art that needed to be imaged, and having a mobile unit to photograph these larger, permanent installations was necessary.

Farnand originally worked with Barbara Bridgers, general manager for imaging at the museum, on previous color reproduction projects. Being both an engineer and imaging researcher, Farnand was familiar with the imaging needed at the museum as well as the capabilities of the engineering college, particularly its multidisciplinary senior design program, where students are required to complete design projects over an academic year using engineering and product design methodologies.

She proposed the Metropolitan Museum project, and the students started work this past fall. Thursday, they saw their work onsite and ready to be used.

The students had traveled for the first time to New York City in October to meet with the museum representatives and developed the design requirements for the portable imaging equipment rig.

“I thought having the team actually see the works of art the museum staff was going to image would be really helpful,” she said. “It was really exciting for the guys because there was one who had never been to New York before. They saw the city and the museum and what goes on behind the scenes.”

Working closely with the museum staff, particularly Bridgers and Scott Geffert ’84 (photographic illustration), the senior imaging systems manager, they designed a custom camera rig.

“The students met with the museum’s engineering staff on Thursday morning to review the construction, operation and safety features of the rig. Other departments have collaborative relationships with students in colleges and universities,” said Bridgers. “This, however, is the first time the Photographic Studio collaborated with a group of students to solve an imaging issue.

“Working with the students was great,” she continued. “They were serious, grasped the problem we were trying to solve, listened carefully to our requirements and took those issues and concerns even further. They understood the implementation in the museum could not be taken lightly and undertook their work with seriousness of purpose.”

The museum is known for its extensive collections of artwork, including tapestries and textiles from around the world. Having the portable imaging rig allows the group to take photographs in the galleries, and decreases the need to move delicate materials.

The overall system was designed around a winch-driven material lift, said Sam Brown, a fifth-year mechanical engineering student. It can be raised 22 feet, a few feet beyond the required 18 feet the museum requested. It also includes a customizable rail system that the main structure will move along, extending up to 29 feet. The mechanical systems—the horizontal and vertical traverse structures, the rails and camera mounts— as well as the electrical systems consisting of several motors and Arduino microprocessors—were all built and assembled at RIT.

“We lived in the machine shop,” said Zack Sostack, a fifth-year mechanical engineering student.

The system is capable of doing precise position measurements that include the pan and tilt function for the camera base, and it can run automatically or manually.

“This rig allows them to wheel it to the artwork, to hoist up the lighting, for the rig to go up and down, back and forth across the artwork,” Brown explained. Structural mounts will be able to hold more than 200 pounds of equipment and rigging on a base that weighs more than 300 pounds.

“It is elegant in its simplicity,” said Farnand. “They worked really hard and I’m impressed with the whole team, and the senior design program in general. It’s a great experience for the students. They get the opportunity to work with real customers and build things that these customers are actually going to use.”

The camera rig will be tested throughout the summer by the studio and engineering staff at the museum. Bridgers expects the camera rig to be used to photograph one of the museum’s exhibits of eighteenth-century rooms from English homes called the Croome Court tapestry room. It was part of a country estate in Worchestershire, England designed by Scottish architect Robert Adam (1728-1792). It featured elaborate tapestries on the walls that extend from floor to ceiling.

“The room is the art,” said Brandon Strangman, a fifth-year industrial and systems engineering student. “This is where the need for our project came in.”

Bridgers agreed. “Every surface area has to be photographed precisely, and the images have to be high enough detail to see the thread count. That’s what we are trying to do with this type of work.”

Between designing and building the rig, displaying it at the recent Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival, preparing for their formal senior design presentation about the project and disassembling the rig to get it to New York, the team members had little time to reflect on the experience.

“We’ve been thinking throughout the semester more along the lines of we have to finish this,” said Strangman. “We haven’t had time to stop and smell the roses. But, it’s cool to think that something we’ve done is going to be used in the museum.”

The team members are: Brandon Strangman (industrial and systems engineering, Shortsville, N.Y.), Samuel Brown (mechanical wngineering, Dryden, N.Y.), Zachary Sostack (mechanical engineering, Cooperstown, N.Y.), Kyle Bradstreet (mechanical engineering, Webster, N.Y.), Daniel Kearney (electrical engineering, Baldwinsville, N.Y.), Daniel Jang (electrical engineering, Queens, N.Y.) and Matthew Misiaszek (mechanical engineering, Stockbridge, N.Y.).

A video of the camera rig is available, produced by Matthew Misiaszek.

Related article:

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2014/05/18/rit-students-construct-camera-rig-met/2240938/

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Original Source: University News

RIT offers career-development workshop on imaging science July 14–24
General
Faculty/Staff

Full federal scholarships available

Jun. 6, 2014
Susan Gawlowicz

Career scientists and engineers as well as students seeking a better understanding of imaging science and technology will gain a comprehensive overview of the imaging process during a two-week intensive course offered by Rochester Institute of Technology’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science.

“Foundations of Imaging Science” will run from July 14 through 24 on the RIT campus. The short course will introduce as many as 20 participants to aspects of the imaging chain, including radiometry, color science, geometric optics, sensors, image processing, image display, the human visual system and image evaluation. Hands-on learning through laboratory exercises will reinforce the topics covered.

The Obama administration, on May 28, named Rochester and the Finger Lakes region as one of the first 12 designated manufacturing communities in the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership program. The designation will channel economic development funds to the area to strengthen regional manufacturing in optics, photonics and imaging with an eye toward global competition.

“As a member of the Center for Imaging Science, I’m excited about Rochester’s designation as a ‘manufacturing community’ in optics, photonics and imaging,” said Susan Farnand, assistant scientist at RIT. “I believe that the courses offered through Center for Emerging and Innovative Sciences, including our Foundations of Imaging Science course, will help prepare people to take advantage of the opportunities that the IMCP program will generate.”

Full scholarships for the course are available through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. To apply for funding, go towww.ceis.rochester.edu/funding/courses/index.html.

For more information, contact Susan Farnand at farnand@cis.rit.edu.

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Original Source: University News

Florida Tech-Led Team Awarded Grant to Test Camera on International Space Station
Astronomy and Space Science
Detector Research
Faculty/Staff

A proposal from Florida Institute of Technology to test a special camera on the International Space Station was selected for funding by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS).

Jun. 24, 2014

The test, to be undertaken next year, involves building an extreme contrast ratio camera into an 8-inch long box that will be installed in a cabinet with other research projects. The cabinet will then be placed outside the space station for 90 days while researchers run their tests, which will include monitoring how the space environment affects aspects of the camera's highly specialized sensor.

The project is led by Daniel Batcheldor, associate professor of physics and space science at Florida Tech.Joining Batcheldor are Sam Durrance, professor of physics and space science at Florida Tech, and Zoran Ninkov, professor of imaging science at Rochester Institute of Technology.

“This is a very exciting project because we expect it to lead to discoveries in both remote sensing of the Earth from orbit and for many fundamental areas of space-based astronomy,” Batcheldor said.

Future commercial use of the camera’s sensor could serve a range of purposes, from astronomy initiatives to Earth observation enterprises, including environmental monitoring and defense interests.

“CASIS congratulates Dr. Batcheldor and Florida Tech on their proposal to utilize the NanoRacks External Platform in their efforts to improve existing charge-coupled device technology,” said CASIS Director of Portfolio Management Warren Bates. “The ISS is a unique testbed capable of yielding results not possible on Earth, and we look forward to working with the university as their researchers attempt to develop new sensors from the distinctive vantage point of the station to ultimately improve life on our planet.”

Once contracts between Florida Tech and CASIS have been finalized, a 2015 launch to the ISS is likely. In the meantime, the team will work with engineers at camera supplier ThermoFisher Scientific Inc., to ensure the payload meets the power consumption, volume, mass and other requirements necessary to operate an investigation onboard the ISS.

This project began in 2012 when Batcheldor was awarded a small research grant from the American Astronomical Society to buy and test an extreme contrast ratio camera on Florida Tech’s 32-inch telescope. These ground tests were successful, and Batcheldor and his team are now going to “flight qualify” this type of camera on the ISS so that it can be used on future remote-sensing and space-based observatory missions.

This work continues Florida Tech's heritage of developing cutting-edge, high-impact technology and partnering with the space industry, noted Hamid Rassoul, dean of the university’s College of Science.

“Combining the knowledge and strength of our experiences, Drs. Batcheldor and Durrance have taken up the challenge to develop an innovative, efficient, extreme-contrast camera to advance the architecture of the next generation of high-sensitivity instruments for astrophysical and remote sensing research,” Rassoul said.

The extreme contrast ratios the camera is equipped to handle are those where the brightness ratio between a bright and faint object is 1 billion, something akin to trying to spot a candle next to a lighthouse. Being able to record such images is important in making observations of planets around other stars and for a range of remote sensing applications.

In addition to project leader Batcheldor, Durrance, an astronaut who spent 26 days in space over two shuttle missions, brings extensive experience with designing, building and operating space-based instrumentation. He also has an interest in the observations of planets around other stars. RIT’s Ninkov has been responsible for designing and testing much of the camera electronics in a laboratory environment.

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Original Source: Florida Institute of Technology

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