General Description: This design is an aftermarket adapter for standard roof- or porro-prism binoculars. The adapter includes a configuration of tubes, cameras, pico-projectors, a tiny computer with FPGA, secure-WiFi, GPS, compass, and software...plus batteries and an optional motion-controlled mount. The result is a 3-pound, fully-digital, stereo-3D, binocular-vision surveillance system with capabilities rarely-found even in military-grade surveillance systems.
Use Case: The adapter is designed for law-enforcement, homeland security, and defense markets requiring advanced digital, video surveillance on a COTS / open-source budget. Capabilities include object-tracking, face-recognition, range-detection, and secure, stereo 3D video-transmission. The adapter leverages open-source vision software, so capabilities are extensible to meet changing safety or security demands. Operators can still view directly through the binocular eyepieces, or they can increase safety by remotely operating the system at up to 1km stand-off distance using the web-based and smartphone-compatible interface.
Design Details: (see main image) The adapter replaces traditional binocular eyepieces with extension tubes; these tubes split the light-path upward into full-HD cameras. Signals from the HD cameras are passed by firewire-b interface to a PC-104+ host computer, processed in real-time by FPGA designed to stereo-process image pairs. The video frames and stereo-3D disparity maps are geocoded based on serial inputs from GPS and compass. Serial outputs control the optional PTZ motion-controlled tripod mount.
Real-time results include camera position, pointing-heading, distance-shaded disparity maps, and feature tracks. These results are displayed by pico projectors that superimpose a head's up display (HUD) by shining onto prisms in the incoming light-path.
An additional PC-104+ communication board provides narrow-band COFDM wireless video-data uplink and FPGA resources are used to multiplex (MUX) the stereo video and sensor metadata (GPS position, pointing-position, timestamp, battery life, etc.) into a H264-compressed, Xon4 video TS/PS stream while reserving bandwidth necessary to support remote control.
Remote operation includes military-grade AES-256bit encrypted login to the adapter's web-services; the remote interface is an easy-to-use touch-based control application with video multi-viewer and timeline controls. All video and metadata are stored in a secure cloud connected via the radio uplink; this ensures that data at the sensor are non-volatile.
Conclusion: This secure-wireless, stereo binocular adapter provides a wide range of surveillance features not currently available in a package of this size, weight and power. The use of exclusively COTS hardware and open-source software allows world-wide adoption of this easily-manufactured, practical security device.