Beacons on the BattlefieldDecember 1, 2006 By: Melanie Martella, Sensors Sensors
It's a fact that, in the chaos of the battlefield (and especially in confused urban warfare situations), people die from so-called "friendly fire." Adapting a MEMS technology developed for use in gas sensors, ICx Ion Optics has created IR emitters tuned to night-vision wavelengths. These devices selectively emit IR length at specific wavelengths and can operate as Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) markers, visible to advanced imaging equipment but invisible to the naked eye or to the first-generation night-vision gear used by the enemy. The MarkIR uses a photonic crystal structure built into a miniature silicon chip to determine the precise emission wavelength. These tiny, power-efficient devices are suited to battery operation; alternatively, they can act as individual emitters for short to medium ranges (30–50 m) or configured into arrays for long-range (>8 km) detection.
THE CHALLENGE Identify friendlies in firefights
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