Oregon Patent of the Month – February 2022

Optical characteristics of different environments can be used to detect the presence of substances. For instance, measuring the intensity of reflected light from bodies of water can help to identify the presence and abundance of sediments or materials. When tracked over time, this data can be used to detect sudden changes. The industry standard method uses a hyperspectral sensor to gather high-resolution data. Unfortunately these devices are limited to one deployment mode – they can be designed for above-water or below-water deployment only. They also cannot be autonomous deployed based on their sze, power requirements and sensitivity to vibrations. Flying Gabe, Inc. has designed an alternative sensor that achieves the same high resolution data without these limitations.

Their hyperspectral sensing system can effectively – and autonomously – map a body of water. The device uses a spectrometer and a series of optical components to direct light towards the area of interest. This reduces optical distortions or stray light and improves the efficiency. This set up sufficiently senses hyperspectral data at the desired resolutions. The device can also modify and adapt the sampling rate based on the intensity of light most recently measured by the sensor. This allows the device to autonomously adapt to changing incident light and changing environments.

Their device is overall smaller and lightweight, capable of performing in both below and above-water environments. The smaller size means the compact spectrometer also has a short optical path length. This means the light travels a relatively small distance within the spectrometer and is therefore more resistant against vibrations, thermal changes, or even optical defects. Since the device is capable of operating remotely, it has a built-in control system which transfers data wirelessly. Flying Gabe’s design can make it easier to monitor these systems, reducing the amount of manual effort required.

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