Global Sources
EE Times-India
Stay in touch with EE Times India
 
EE Times-India > Optoelectronics/Displays
 
 
Optoelectronics/Displays  

Push-button magnification enables adaptive zoom riflescope

Posted: 27 Oct 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Sandia National Laboratories  adaptive zoom  riflescope  variable optical lens 

An optical engineer at Sandia National Laboratories has led the development of the Rapid Adaptive Zoom for Assault Rifles (RAZAR) prototype. According to Brett Bagwell, the RAZAR can toggle between high and low magnifications at the push of a button, allowing soldiers to zoom in without the need to look away from their targets or their hands from their rifles.

"The impetus behind the idea of push-button zoom is you can acquire what you're interested in at low magnification and, without getting lost, zoom in for more clarity," Bagwell said.

In addition to military riflescopes, RAZAR technologies are now being considered for other applications where speed, size, weight and power count. Applications include medical imaging, binoculars for the entire range of users from the military to birdwatchers, hunters' scopes and cell phone cameras where optical zoom is needed to avoid the pixelated images associated with digital zoom.

Rapid Adaptive Zoom for Assault Rifles

A member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, left, demonstrates the Rapid Adaptive Zoom for Assault Rifles prototype developed at Sandia National Laboratories. (Photo courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories)

Bagwell began work on RAZAR in 2006 responding to Department of Defence interest in a compact zoom riflescope that could rapidly toggle between magnifications. Early work had been funded by Sandia's Laboratory Directed Research and Development programme.

Bagwell found no commercial products or components that would enable the riflescope to meet military requirements, so he had to design and build the first RAZAR from scratch and develop a manufacturing process.

The RAZAR prototype uses a patented active optical zoom system, called "adaptive zoom," invented by David Wick, who was working as a Sandia optical engineer at the time.

Traditional optical zoom changes magnification by adjusting the positions of the lenses along the optical axis. For example, a 35mm camera mechanically moves the lenses as you zoom in on or out from a subject.

Adaptive zoom changes the focal lengths of two or more lenses by varying the curvature of the lenses' surfaces to provide optical zoom without changing their overall positions relative to one another, allowing the user to view either a wide-angle image or zoom in on an area of interest with a compact, low-power system, Wick said.

The invention, Bagwell said, means "this is the first time in a long time that there has been a new technology that a direct-view optical designer can take advantage of."

Three core technologies make adaptive zoom work for RAZAR. (1) A polymer lens core has two flexible, hermetically sealed membranes, which encapsulate a polymer fluid. The three-quarter-inch lenses are aligned with glass lenses to complete the optical design. (2) A piezoelectric actuator electro-mechanically changes the flex of the lenses, achieving the correct position within 250ms to an accuracy of 100nm, about 1/100th the thickness of a human hair. These actuators operate the way the muscles of the human eye change the curvature of the eye's lens to focus far away or up close. (3) Variable-focal length system design tools had to be developed from scratch, including analytical expressions and computer models that trace rays of light through optical systems.

1 • 2 Next Page Last Page



Comment on "Push-button magnification enables ad..."
Comments:  
*  You can enter [0] more charecters.
*Verify code:
 
 
Webinars

Seminars

Visit Asia Webinars to learn about the latest in technology and get practical design tips.

 

Go to top             Connect on Facebook      Follow us on Twitter      Follow us on Orkut

 
Back to Top