Headwall Photonics Blog

Christopher Van Veen

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Headwall Photonics: In Good Company

Posted by Christopher Van Veen on Wed, Jun 20, 2012

They say, "You're judged by the company you keep..." And with that, we're very proud to have been chosen as a 2012 R&D Award recipient from R&D Magazine. We nominated our Hyperspec RECON hyperspectral sensor because it pulls together cutting-edge spectral imaging technologies and embodies the very essence of innovation that the award competition was RECON RD 100 talldesigned to foster. An independent judging panel and the editors of R&D Magazine obviously agreed, and now Hyperspec RECON proudly sits as one of the world's most technologically significant products developed over the past year.

So, what exactly is Hyperspec RECON and why do we believe it attracted the attention of the judges? The product is a very sensitive, precise hyperspectral sensor that operates in the VNIR (380nm - 1000 nm) spectral range. We developed Hyperspec RECON initially for the U.S. Army so that they would have a brand-new forward reconnaissance asset to deploy on the battlefield. Packaged small, light and robust, Hyperspec RECON will allow a soldier to render a 6-inch by 6-inch hyperspectral scene at a distance of over a mile. Every material has its own spectral signature, and Hyperspec RECON is able to discern what it 'sees' with a high degree of precision, sensitivity, and selectivity. Operator controls are minimal, and spectral libraries are loaded onto a removable SD card.

The foundational technology that made Hyperspec RECON a winning product is shared across all of Headwall's hyperspectral sensors. Application areas include remote sensing, airborne surveillance, high-speed inspection lines, forensics, medical and biotechnology, and precision agriculture. Across them all, Headwall instruments provide very high spatial and spectral resolution and high-efficiency diffractive optics.

Tags: hyperspectral imaging, hyperspectral, Headwall Photonics, Defense, Sensors, Security, diffraction gratings

Hyperspectral Imaging Helps Improve Food Inspection

Posted by Christopher Van Veen on Tue, Jun 12, 2012

Photonics Spectra June 2012We're quite proud to note that the current issue of Photonics Spectra features a new cover story authored by Chris Van Veen and David Bannon of Headwall Photonics. One of the focal points of the story is that hyperspectral imaging isn't solely for satellites and high-flying aircraft...although we're quite well-versed when it comes to those application areas!

Headwall has worked tirelessly to refine and adapt hyperspectral imaging technology so that it can be deployed along food inspection lines to boost speed and quality...and do so economically. Indeed, the USDA said earlier this year that it wants to modify poultry inspection so that companies take more ownership of the process. To do so, they need exceptionally reliable and robust spectral imaging solutions that integrate seamlessly into existing facility layouts. In this article we talk about a variety of application areas for hyperspectral, all revolving around food. We also talk about important considerations that need to be addressed so that the technology demonstrably exceeds the level of precision, accuracy, speed, and return on investment that food-processing companies demand.

Tags: hyperspectral imaging, hyperspectral, Headwall Photonics, food processing

Hyperspectral Imaging & Agriculture: A Perfect Match

Posted by Christopher Van Veen on Wed, May 02, 2012

Spectral imaging and agriculture seems to be a perfect match. Technologies and techniques such as hyperspectral in-line inspection and Raman imaging instrumentation are well suited to very high-speed processing environments such as those found in agricultural processing plants for meat, poultry, and specialty crops.

USDAHeadwall recently had the opportunity to meet with USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan at the Washington DC offices of the USDA.  As stated by Dr. Merrigan, a very high priority for the USDA are issues pertaining to improved food safety and quality all within an environment of challenging fiscal alternatives.  Given the introduction of the Food Safety Modernization Act and USDA-led initiatives such as the HAACP-Based Inspection Pilot (also known as HIMP), there is an ever-growing industry requirement for high-speed machine vision instruments that are capable of supporting food safety and food quality standards accurately and cost-effectively.

Hyperspec InspectorHeadwall has a unique research and development relationship with the USDA whereby Headwall develops hyperspectral instrumentation specifically for in-line inspection in agriculture applications.  These represent very harsh environments, and having a stable spectral imaging platform that addresses multiple spectral ranges is very important for critical processing and inspection applications.  One of these is Hyperspec Inspector (shown), which is a complete hyperspectral imaging solution meant precisely for this kind of industrial environment. Strong collaboration and joint research with the USDA has strongly positioned Headwall’s technology as a proven and cost-effective alternative for food processors.

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Tags: hyperspectral imaging, hyperspectral, Headwall Photonics, Sensors, agriculture

Headwall's Hyperpectral Sensors Soar at DSS

Posted by Christopher Van Veen on Thu, Apr 26, 2012

The Defense, Security + Sensing (DSS) show moved from its traditional Orlando venue to Baltimore this year. Flush with technology-driven agencies, the Baltimore-Washington area is a natural magnet for a show such as DSS.

DSS 2012 BaltimoreThe first two days at DSS have been amazing for Headwall, with visitors drawn by the sight of the Insitu 'ScanEagle' UAV. This impressive aircraft is one example of a typical platform that can easily deploy Headwall's 'Micro Hyperspec' hyperspectral sensor. Size, weight, and power-consumption specifications (SWaP) for any payload need to be carefully balanced when it comes to deployment on any mission-critical UAV. So far during the three-day DSS show, the ability to demonstrate our lightweight sensor aboard ScanEagle is proving the point better than any photograph could!

Closer to the ground, Hyperspec RECON is drawing tremendous interest from technologists who need a portable, simple-to-use hyperspectral sensor that can be deployed on the battlefield. Hyperspec RECON can render a 6" x 6" hyperspectral scene at a distance of 1.5 km and process that image data in only a few seconds. Using a spectral library of known signatures, RECON is able to immediately identify them within the field of view. Aberration-corrected imaging technology combined with robust, fast data-processing software give our troops immediate, accurate, and actionable hyperspectral data in the field of battle.

DSS wraps up later today at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Tags: hyperspectral imaging, hyperspectral, Headwall Photonics, Airborne, DSS, Defense

Hyperspectral Imaging Heads to Baltimore for DSS!

Posted by Christopher Van Veen on Fri, Apr 20, 2012

DSSDSS--Defense, Security + Sensing--is the world's largest unclassified event for defense, security, and sensing applications for industry and the environment, and we'll be there in Booth 2220 starting Tuesday April 24.

DSS relocated from Orlando to Baltimore for 2012. The move from Orlando is a good one because it will bring in more experts than ever in the fields of homeland security, defense, and environmental sensing. Here, they'll gain visibility for their work and products and receive face-to-face feedback from their peers.

Hyperspec RECON

DSS is a premiere event on the Headwall Photonics show schedule. New this year will be a product called Hyperspec RECON, which is a portable yet rugged hyperspectral sensor that can render a 6" x 6" target at distances of up to 1.5km. We'll have the RECON system on display and operational, so be sure to take a look!

One of the most critical applications for hyperspectral technology in the field of defense, security and sensing is aboard airborne platforms such as the ScanEagle from Insitu. We'll have an actual ScanEagle in our booth, courtesy ofScanEagle by Insitu Insitu, to demonstrate how our lightweight Micro Hyperspec sensors can be deployed in packages where size, weight, and power (SWaP) need to be optimized.

We look forward to seeing you at DSS starting April 24!

Tags: hyperspectral imaging, hyperspectral, Headwall Photonics, Airborne, DSS, Defense, Micro Hyperspec, Sensing, Security, Insitu

Harvesting the Benefits of Spectral Imaging

Posted by Christopher Van Veen on Tue, Apr 17, 2012

Agriculture head

Next Instruments in Condell Park, NSW Australia has just reached a record-breaking milestone, and Headwall Photonics played a key role! The CropScan Grain Analyzer was introduced by Next Instruments over a decade ago and is proving to be a standard-bearer for Next Instrumentsfarmers and grain buyers across the world. A company that was founded to serve the agricultural market within Australia is now shipping over 60% of its products to more than 15 other countries.

To date, over 1,000 of these precision near-infrared (NIR) grain analyzers have been produced by Next Instruments. Evolving from the initial 2000G model, the CropScan family now comprises five products that provide spectral analysis of protein, moisture, and oil in cereals and oil seeds. The systems let famers and grain buyers 'see' the quality and nutritional value of the grains that ultimately end up in the foods we all consume on a daily basis. 

Helping make CropScan a success is a spectral engine made by Headwallspectrometer Photonics. Although Headwall is a leading producer of complete hyperspectral imaging systems and sensors, its core technology--holographic diffraction gratings and spectrometers--is used by OEMs worldwide in the production of their own products.

Next Instruments uses Headwall's customized MS-10HR spectrometers in each CropScan system. "We assure ourselves guaranteed spectrometer uniformity and precision by partnering with Headwall," said Phil Clancy, CEO at Next Instruments. "One of the things customers can do withcropscan 2000G CropScan is cross-calibrate their systems from one to the next, which is a byproduct of Headwall's exceptionally precise spectrometer technology."

The push to make the foods we consume healthier and more nutrient-rich actually starts here...in the field. Thanks to innovative instrumentation from Next Instruments and Headwall Photonics, the science of agriculture has never been more precise.

Surveying the Land Below: Hyperspectral Sensors go Airborne

Posted by Christopher Van Veen on Wed, Mar 14, 2012

Remote sensing is a very important application and perhaps the 'killer app' for hyperspectral imaging technology, particularly when it comes to airborne scientific techniques. With traditional roots in research, Headwall’s airborne hyperspectral sensors are considered an industry-standard research tool and have been routinely utilized for the study of such topics as climate change, environmental mapping and monitoring, biodiversity research, and studies of the effects of carbon emissions on the environment.
 
Headwall’s experience is that it often takes approximately 10 years for technology to roll out of the military/defense markets and be ready for commercial applications. One particular market note is the use of Headwall’s hyperspectral sensors for commercial remote sensing applications. This is proving to be a very large and significant market. For example, one of Headwall’s customers is VineView, a commercial airborne company located in California with a focus on providing precision agriculture information and aerial imagery to more than 800 vineyards in the western United States. Dr. Matthew Staid, President of VineView Scientific Aerial Imaging, is a leader in the utilization of hyperspectral imaging for the management of 'high-value crops.'  His company provides airborne remote sensing services to the winegrape industry consisting of hyperspectral, thermal, and infrared sensing data for precision farming and profitable agricultural management of vineyards.
 
VineViewVineView’s sensor needs are focused in two key areas – very high spatial resolution coupled with extremely fast data processing.  One key attribute of hyperspectral imaging is the amount of spectral and spatial data collected. To capitalize on the inherent value of hyperspectral data requires an ability to rapidly process all this data into a geo-rectified data set. Airborne hyperspectral solutions require high performance, aberration-corrected sensors as well as hyperspectral data-processing units to collect and 'package' this data.  These rapid data-acquisition capabilities allow VineView to expand aerial services beyond the winegrape industry and into areas such as citrus production, tree nuts, and cotton.
 
With the ability to 'see' beyond the visible spectrum of 380nm to 780nm, Headwall’s hyperspectral imagers are readily available and optimized for many different spectral regions to a base of worldwide customers. One common configuration deployed by a number of remote sensing customers is the use of a Hyperspec VNIR sensor and a Hyperspec SWIR sensor to cover the broad spectrum of 380 to 2500 nm.
Tags: Headwall Photonics, Airborne, Remote Sensing, Sensors, VineView

Savvy About Hyperspectral Imaging? We Should Talk!

Posted by Christopher Van Veen on Wed, Mar 07, 2012

When the world decides to beat a path to your door, what do you do? You hire great people! We’re poised for big things in 2012 and terrific people are needed to help us get there. Take a look at our just-posted career opportunities!

Hyperspectral ApplicationsAt Headwall, our hyperspectral imaging products are based on some of the coolest optical and sensing technology around. Instruments you only saw in laboratories are now doing great things all over the world because they’re smaller and more affordable than ever. Hyperspectral imaging is helping to make crops we plant and harvest safer and more plentiful. Forensic science is getting to the root cause faster thanks to our technology. From reconnaissance and surveillance aboard UAVs to health-care and remote sensing, hyperspectral imaging is making whole new worlds possible.

We're looking for talented people who can fill these roles:

You'll be working with extraordinarily bright people at our headquarters facility in north-central Massachusetts, about an hour west of Boston. You'll be contributing to the advancement and deployment of our remarkable technology, which is already in widespread use around the globe.

Tags: hyperspectral imaging, hyperspectral, Headwall Photonics, Fitchburg, Careers

Hyperspectral Imaging Heads West!

Posted by Christopher Van Veen on Tue, Jan 31, 2012

Wrap-up from the BiOS and Photonics West conferences in San Francisco...

After a busy week discussing spectrometers, diffraction gratings, and hyperspectral imagers at the conferences, the Headwall Photonics’ application engineering team had some free time to take hyperspectral scans of a few of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks.

Below is a hyperspectral image of the Golden Gate Bridge. The hyperspectral image was taken with Headwall’s Hyperspec RECON imaging sensor, the industry’s first handheld hyperspectral sensor specifically designed for ground-based, military & defense applications. You can see that the spectra of the anti-rust paint on the bridge supports was also found on the metal window supports of the building in the foreground.

hyperspectral image of Golden Gate Bridge

The striking thing about this image is that the bridge is estimated to be greater than 2 miles away from the sensor.

The Hyperspec RECON sensor was a PRISM Award finalist at the Photonics West Conference.  Reconnaissance soldiers will use this rugged, handheld sensor for improved ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) missions.  In deployment mode, the DoD will load mission-specific target signatures into the hyperspectral sensor to detect “objects of interest” within the field of view.

For more information about Hyperspec RECON, click here.

 

Tags: hyperspectral imaging, photonics west, BiOS, PRISM, SPIE

Visit Headwall Photonics at upcoming trade shows!

Posted by Christopher Van Veen on Wed, Jan 18, 2012

Hyperspec Recon

Headwall Photonics will be at THREE important industry conventions later this month...one on the east coast and one on the west coast! Wherever you'll be, pay us a visit!

The first two are the SPIE-sponsored companion events BiOS and Photonics West. They're running consecutively at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. BiOS occurs Saturday and Sunday, January 21-22. Headwall Photonics will be in Booth 8903.

BiOS 2012

 

Photonics West 2012

 

Photonics West occurs Tuesday through Thursday, January 24-26. We’ll be in Booth 903 for that show. We’ll have the latest in hyperspectral imaging solutions on display and operational, including the brand-new Hyperspec Recon. This portable, ruggedized hyperspectral imager is up for an award during Photonics West! It is one of three products nominated for the prestigious 2011 PRISM Award! If you’ll be going to either BiOS or Photonics West (or both!), we’d love to see you!

IFPAC 2012

 

 

 

 

Nearly 3000 miles to the east and during the same week, Headwall Photonics will be exhibiting at the IFPAC Show in Baltimore. It’s the 26th International Forum and Exhibition on Process Analytical Technology, and Headwall’s hyperspectral imaging solutions are producing remarkable results in the food-processing, pharmaceutical, and chemical markets. Our booth at IFPAC is 212, and we look forward to seeing you there!

Tags: hyperspectral imaging, hyperspectral, photonics west, BiOS, IFPAC, PRISM, SPIE