ELASTIC Shotgun Cam Network
Expendable Local Area Sensors in a Tactically Interconnected Cluster (ELASTIC) is a set of small, ballistically distributed optical imaging sensors. Once deployed - via shotgun or other such device - they would link up with each other to form an ad hoc network.
ELASTIC is another attempt to meet the needs of the military in moving into an urban setting and setting up a quick surveillance and information network. At present, setting up a perimeter is both time-consuming and dangerous; it also makes use of hardware that is considerably more expensive.
There will also be a lower-bandwidth down-link capability from the tactical operator back to the sensors to support multiple modes of operation-alert level (including hibernation), region of interest (ROI) selection, limited motion of sensor, etc. This requires the design of imaging systems using only simple molded plastic lenses that are nevertheless capable of quality imaging over a large volume; including a large depth-of-focus (DOF) and wide viewing angle. Simple signal processing at the other end of the Up-Link produces high-quality images from the sensor data. More elaborate processing can produce increased resolution (“Super-Resolution” or SR) for regions of interest (ROI) selected by the operator. This is a “digital zooming” capability. Multiple sensor modes are also possible, with some sensor units reporting sound, motion detection (optical, sonar or radar), vibration, etc.
DARPA is now looking for vendors to implement this idea.
Easy surveillance network deployment reminds me of Larry Niven's webeye cameras from his 1996 book Ringworld's Throne.
Similar ideas can be found in some real-world prototypes. The Rapid Deployment Integrated Surveillance System uses off-the-shelf technology to accomplish a similar goal. The RFID Sensor Tag Shower For Disasters seems to meet the scattershot requirements of this project.
Via Wired; see also some ELASTIC details
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