Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Device and Method for Enhancing Covert Operations in Hostile Environments by Reducing Bandwidth and Power Requirements", for Approval
The patent's assignee is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates generally to intelligent sensor systems, and more particularly to sensor systems with intelligent transmission control designed for use in environments where bandwidth and power are at a premium, e.g. when conducting covert reconnaissance in hostile environments.
"Covert information gathering is critically important for numerous reasons. Often referred to as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance ('ISR'), this information can be valuable to develop military strategy, defend against terrorist attack, and assist law enforcement.
"One challenge in gathering useful ISR information is the need to power remote sensors used for gathering information. These challenges are exacerbated when the remote sensor must operate covertly in a hostile environment. A covertly operated remote sensor in hostile territory does not have easy access to a power source. Using a large solar panel, which must be exposed to broad daylight, is often not practical as this will lead to easy detection of the covertly positioned equipment. If battery power is used, the power is limited by the size of the battery, and it may be difficult or impossible to dispatch a technician to replace a battery for a remote sensor in hostile territory. And if a large battery is used, the remote sensor will be large and therefore easier to find. Therefore, power is often at a premium in remote sensor systems.
"An additional challenge involves the communication of information gathered by the remote sensor. Once the sensor gathers information it must somehow convey that information in order for it to be acted upon. As the information is likely highly time-sensitive, it is impractical to dispatch a technician to check the sensor and collect the data, as the value of the information may have already expired. Also, it may be impractical or dangerous to send a technician if the sensor is located in a hostile environment.
"Since the sensor's information is typically desired in real time, it may be conveyed via electromagnetic signal by a radio. For example, the sensor may be aboard an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle providing radio communications via a satellite. It is highly desirable to keep radio communication to a minimum for at least three reasons. First, the radio transmission is subject to detection, deception, interference, and jamming ('D2IJ'). Another reason to minimize radio communication is the communications equipment requires power for every second it is operating, and especially when it is transmitting. In addition to using valuable power and increasing the chance of D2IJ, prolonged communication requires large available bandwidth, which may either not be available at all or comes at a very high cost. In the satellite communications example, the satellite bandwidth is limited and comes at a high cost: often Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are assigned a limited amount of satellite capacity which limits the number of sensors sending raw data at any given time to just one.
"For all of the above reasons, it is highly desirable to develop a sensor that can collect, analyze, and transmit valuable information, while minimizing power consumption, D2IJ susceptibility, and communication bandwidth."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, NewsRx correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "Embodiments according to aspects of the present invention are directed to intelligent sensor systems. Aspects of the present invention include specialized data analysis and transmission capabilities to provide systems for conducting reconnaissance in hostile environments.
"According to one aspect of the present invention, a compact sensor system includes a housing incorporating a sensor, a high-powered general purpose processor, a processor readable media, and a heat reduction system. The processor is disposed on a circuit board which is contained in the housing. The processor receives sensor data from the sensor, and, according to software instructions stored on the processor readable media, the processor identifies bits in the sensor data, analyzes the bits via segmentation of the sensor data, and describes the segmented sensor data using a data representation.
"In a first mode, the processor transmits output data containing a description of the segmented sensor data to a remote location. In a second mode, the amount of output data is reduced such that the processor only transmits a fractional amount of data as compared to the original sensor data. In a third mode, the processor receives a target data set from an external source, and, when a match between the sensor data and the target data is recognized, the processor transmits data indicating the recognition of the target. In yet another mode, upon detecting a match the processor transmits only a confirmation signal without any sensor data.
"In one embodiment, the sensor is configured to capture thermal imaging data. In another embodiment, the sensor is a camera capturing image data. In yet another embodiment, the sensor is configured to capture electromagnetic radiation occurring outside of the visible spectrum, such as, but not limited to, infrared or ultraviolet data. In still other embodiments, multiple sensors are combined into the same system.
"In some embodiments, the processor is disposed on a flexible circuit board or multiple circuit board sections connected by flexible connectors. In some embodiments, the circuit board sections are positioned such that a section of the board is perpendicular to another section of the board. Additionally, in some embodiments, portions of the circuit board may be coupled to the housing to, at least, assist with dissipating heat from the processor. In some embodiments, the housing includes an external cooling fin or conductive mounting tab that assists with dissipating heat.
"In some embodiments, the system is powered by a battery. In some embodiments, the battery is rechargeable by solar power. In some embodiments, the system is configured to shut off periodically to conserve power.
"Additional aspects of the invention will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art in view of the detailed description of various embodiments, which is made with reference to the drawings, a brief description of which is provided below.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"FIG. 1A illustrates an example compact sensor system according to aspects of the present invention.
"FIG. 1B illustrates the compact sensor system of FIG. 1A enhanced to show internal system components according to aspects of the present invention.
"FIG. 1C illustrates a reverse angle view of the compact sensor system in FIG. 1B according to aspects of the present invention.
"FIG. 2 illustrates a cross sectional view of a compact sensor system according to aspects of the present invention.
"FIG. 3 illustrates a housing with cooling fins according to aspects of the present invention.
"FIG. 4 illustrates a housing with conductive mounting tabs according to aspects of the present invention.
"FIG. 5 illustrates a block diagram of sensor system components according to aspects of the present invention.
"FIG. 6 illustrates a flowchart of a sensor data recognition process according to aspects of the present invention.
"While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail herein. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not intended to be limited to the particular forms disclosed. Rather, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims."
For additional information on this patent application, see: McEwan,
Keywords for this news article include: Circuit Board, Electronics, Technology,
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