3D visualisation and measurement of high-speed objects in flight

Specialised Imaging has developed a technique that allows engineers to correlate high-speed video data with 3D visualisation and measurement.

For high-speed imaging applications - such as ballistic trajectory characterisation, space re-entry vehicle development and development of advanced munitions - engineers have traditionally used Doppler radar equipment with sophisticated software, and on-board telemetry. While this methodology has provided useful analytical data, it has not allowed visualisation of the processes. The ability to correlate both analytical and visual data over a significant part of an object's flight, using the new technique, offers engineers a valuable high-speed imaging tool.

Using a pair of Trajectory Tracker systems, with new flight prediction algorithms, and high-speed video cameras - engineers are now able to capture a sequence of images along an objects flight path and also obtain accurate 3D measurements from those sequences.

The Trajectory Tracker, with its flight prediction algorithms, is used to accurately track the object along a large portion of the flight path. This allows a very tight field of view, which results in higher accuracy for the 3D analysis. The 3D analysis software allows for the calibration of the system and relating this to the image data streams from the high-speed video camera, produces simultaneous correlated video and measurement data.

Proof of principle tests carried out by customers in the US and Europe have shown that the reduction in time to obtain accurate 3D (pitch and yaw) measurements is helping to accelerate the process of characterising the flight behaviour of fast moving objects.

The Trajectory Tracker is a next generation video tracking system offering high performance and ease of deployment on a sturdy, fully adjustable mount. The system provides consistent and accurate tracking of objects in flight using a computer controlled triggered rotating mirror positioned in front of a high-speed digital video camera. In order to fully evaluate failure modes of high-speed objects, it is often necessary to observe their performance over a significant proportion of the trajectory. The Trajectory Tracker allows observations to be made of in flight behaviour of high-speed objects over more than 100 metres with a tracking accuracy of better than 0.2 degrees over its full scan. The resulting slow motion record of an object in flight allows accurate diagnosis of events such as fin deployment, motor burn time, pitch, yaw and spin rate.

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