Headwall Photonics Blog

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.

Small UAVs - Precision agriculture & hyperspectral remote sensing

Posted by David Bannon on Mon, Apr 09, 2012

Micro Hyperspec UAV Picture 2Offering improvements in agricultural yields and precision farming, hyperspectral sensors allow producers and processors to make the foods we eat safer along with providing the advantages of higher quality and hopefully, better taste.  Based in Massachusetts, Headwall Photonics, designs and manufactures small, lightweight sensors that are deployed aboard airborne platforms ranging from piloted aircraft to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). With experience developed within the military sector, the company has established quite a business enabling the commercial use of very small, cost-effective UAVs for remote sensing and agriculture applications.

In the same way that food-processing lines are evolving from straight-forward machine-vision systems to spectral imaging, many agriculturalists and food producers are moving beyond simple appearance and color measurement to more advanced hyperspectral imaging. The richness of the data collected offers farmers a sense of what to plant, where to plant, and when to harvest. High-value crops such as pecans, grapes, walnuts and others need to be managed with precision to yield a profitable harvest. Nutrient levels, ripeness, and disease conditions can be ‘seen’ by hyperspectral sensors based on the chemical “fingerprint” of the crops rather than on the visual appearance; thus offering the ability to implement cost-effective solutions early in the growth cycle of the harvest.

Since these imaging sensors can be and are rapidly being deployed aboard inexpensive UAVs, hundreds of acres can be surveyed and monitored very quickly. The data-processing power coupled to these hyperspectral sensors means that more actionable crop and agricultural information can be obtained. The result is better overall crop management across the farming and food production industries. Where famine relief is acute, airborne hyperspectral sensors quickly lead to better decisions about what crops to plant, where to plant them, and when to harvest them. The specific ‘spectral signatures’ of diseased plants, contaminants, and ripeness conditions mean that hyperspectral technology can clearly be used to ensure healthier foods for all and a more profitable and timely crop harvest.

As a previous topic, Headwall mentioned an important specialty crop in the United States being grape production and vineyard management. One of Headwall’s hyperspectral customers, VineView Scientific Aerial Imaging, is a company that uses high-resolution, scientifically calibrated data products to assist framers in crop uniformity optimization, irrigation management, and harvest planning. “Hyperspectral data allows us to provide more specific actionable information to our clients who manage high-value crops,” said Dr. Matthew Staid, President of Saint Helena, CA-based VineView. The Headwall airborne hyperspectral sensors can be mounted on small UAVs or manned aircraft and means that VineView cannot only map vigor or stress within crops but can better identify the specific causes of those stresses. 

Headwall continues to advance the agriculture and remote sensing industries through the deployment of cost-effective hyeprspectral sensors that have a positive impact on farmers, food processors, and agricultural research scientists around the world.

To speak with an application engineer, click here ...

Tags: hyperspectral imaging, Airborne, Remote Sensing, SWIR, agriculture

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

ISO9001: Focus on Quality not a passing fad

Posted by David Bannon on Thu, Feb 16, 2012

Earlier this week, Headwall successfully completed its re-certification audit for ISO 9001:2008. We see it as a proud milestone rather than a passing fad, because Quality does matter to us! The audit was conducted by NQA, a prestigious ISO audit and surveillance company.Quality is a necessary and functionality pervasive attribute when you are an analytical instrument manufacturer such as Headwall.  As our business relies on repeat OEM business or high volume spectrometer manufacture, customers expect and demand a very predictable supply chain partner.

NQAFor Headwall’s core business of designing and manufacturing advanced spectral instrumentation that will be deployed at the heart of mission-critical applications, the inherent corporate ability to understand and quantify measures of performance is a unique differentiator.
 
Surely, developing and maintaining an ISO quality system requires organizational focus and discipline and some may be inclined to believe it is more expensive to do so … but that is short-sighted.  The costs of not implementing a product quality system are pervasively felt with product returns, poor and unresponsive technical support, low manufacturing yields, and most importantly, dissatisfied customers.
 
food processingHeadwall sells into a very diverse and critical set of applications where product reliability is key – NIR in-line process analysis, handheld color measurement devices, raw material screening for pharmaceuticals, spectral imaging of food and agriculture products, or airborne hyperspectral sensors – and all of these environments demand traceability of product and verifiable work instructions to support product quality standards.
 
Headwall will proudly post our ISO9001:2008 certificate but the real benefit is being able to deliver on our promises to customers and then being able to prove it to them.
 

Tags: hyperspectral imaging, hyperspectral, Headwall Photonics, food processing, ISO9001:2008

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

Hyperspectral Imaging Reaches Further than Ever!

Posted by Christopher Van Veen on Wed, Jan 11, 2012

Hyperspectral imaging is reaching into areas that are more mainstream than ever. You can actually 'see what you've been missing' with hyperspectral imaging systems, meaning that they can help solve some of the biggest challenges we face. Food can be made safer, surveillance can be more precise, health-care problems can be detected sooner, and forensic science can reach new levels of precision. Outstanding spectral and spatial resolution is the key, and that’s a function of having high-efficiency, all-original diffraction gratings. Every system built by Headwall Photonics is based upon this core technology.

So how mainstream is mainstream? Hyperspectral imaging systems are being deployed in processing facilities where speed, product quality & safety, and cost-optimization are key drivers. Think of food-processing facilities for specialty crops, other fruits and vegetables, poultry, and fish. All need ways of determining good from bad and pass from fail. Bacteria levels in fish and contamination in fruits and vegetables, for example, are all distinguishable with hyperspectral imaging. And since these red-flag conditions will be found early enough in the process, quality increases and cost decreases.

poultry processing

Other areas of need include health-care and pharmaceutical processing, forensic sciences, chemicals, mining, government surveillance/homeland security, and many more. The beauty of the technology is that it’s more affordable than ever, and easy to set up and use.

pharmaceuticals

Headwall Photonics will be at the BiOS/Photonics West conferences in San Francisco this month (booth 8903 for BiOS and 903 for Photonics West). We’ll also be at the International Forum for Process Analytical Technology (IFPAC) in Baltimore January 23-25. We’ll be at Booth 212 there. Come visit us to learn more about how Hyperspectral Imaging can solve some of your toughest challenges!


Tags: hyperspectral imaging, photonics west, BiOS, IFPAC, diffraction gratings