The ACTIVE-EYES (adaptive control for thermal imagers via electro-optic elements to yield an enhanced sensor) architecture, an adaptive image-segmentation and processing architecture, based on digital micromirror (DMD) array technology, is described. The concept provides efficient front-end processing of multispectral image data by adaptively segmenting and routing portions of the scene data concurrently to an imager and a spectrometer. The goal is to provide a large reduction in the amount of data required to be sensed in a multispectral imager by means of preprocessing the data to extract the most useful spatial and spectral information during detection. The DMD array provides the flexibility to perform a wide range of spatial and spectral analyses on the scene data. The spatial and spectral processing for different portions of the input scene can be tailored in real time to achieve a variety of preprocessing functions. Since the detected intensity of individual pixels may be controlled, the spatial image can be analyzed with gain varied on a pixel-by-pixel basis to enhance dynamic range. Coarse or fine spectral resolution can be achieved in the spectrometer by use of dynamically controllable or addressable dispersion elements. An experimental prototype, which demonstrated the segmentation between an imager and a grating spectrometer, was demonstrated and shown to achieve programmable pixelated intensity control. An information theoretic analysis of the dynamic-range control aspect was conducted to predict the performance enhancements that might be achieved with this architecture. The results indicate that, with a properly configured algorithm, the concept achieves the greatest relative information recovery from a detected image when the scene is made up of a relatively large area of moderate-dynamic-range pixels and a relatively smaller area of strong pixels that would tend to saturate a conventional sensor.
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