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NATO SET-198/RTG on Visible Laser Dazzle Effects and Protection

05/18/2015

The growing proliferation of laser illumination events is generating concern for the protection of personnel and also sensors. In order to understand in detail the impact of laser dazzling, i.e. visual disability resulting in reduction of operational capability, it is crucial to have the capability to model such situations. 

In May 2014 the members of SET-198/RTG performed a common field trial to generate dazzled sensor images under controlled conditions. Sensor data provide real-world input helping to develop representative eye models. In a first step these data were used to find an appropriate character recognition algorithm matching our requirements. Additionally, laboratory observer tests will be performed to validate the recognition algorithm, and in the second step helping to develop and validate the desired models of laser eye dazzle. 

All participating nations supported the trial with different experimental equipment like light and laser sources, cameras, lenses, novel protection filters, test charts, recognition algorithms or eye models. The dazzling experiments were run over five days in a laboratory with controllable ambient light level and another two days were spent with outdoor dazzling tests. 

The test charts used were specially developed for our purposes regarding the evaluation of dazzled scenes. They comprised of an arrangement of a number of “E”-characters (Snellen optotypes) presented in four different sizes and located at defined positions. The chart’s background was uniformly “white” and all characters were oriented ordinary upright. 

The impact of dazzling was studied in dependence of laser wavelength, laser power and camera type. An example for a dazzled camera image is shown below. Based on these data and the planned laboratory observer tests it will be possible to optimize, and thus to “validate”, the various character recognition algorithms taken into account. 

A further common trial is scheduled for April 2015, hosted by Tri-Service Research Laboratory (TSRL) facilities of AFRL, Fort Sam Houston, TX. There subjects will take part in observer tests. 

Based on the fruitful collaboration till now and the positive experimental results we are looking forward to the next step in order to achieve validated eye and camera dazzle models. 

 

 

 

(Source: NATO Science and Technology Organization; issued 18.05.2015)
Date: 
05/18/2015
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