SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing

The annual event is in Anaheim, CA, 9-13 April.

01 April 2017

logo for SPIE DCSThree days of demonstrations showing how Hollywood films employ technologies originally created for defense applications and a host of other industry sessions and panel discussions at SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing (DCS) will highlight the extensive, worldwide impact of optical sensing and imaging technologies.

Approximately 5000 attendees are expected 9-13 April at the collocated symposia, SPIE Defense + Security and SPIE Commercial + Scientific Sensing and Imaging in Anaheim, CA (USA).

SPIE DCS will have nearly 1800 technical presentations in 47 conferences covering such topics as IR sensing, robotics, radar, spectroscopic techniques, quantum cascade lasers, lidar, computational image-processing methods, and quantum dots. It includes a three-day exhibition with 370 companies, a job fair, 32 onsite courses, and an extensive industry program.

A new program will recognize early career “Rising Researchers,” and focused conference topical tracks will emphasize sensing, imaging, and photonics technologies for agriculture, food safety, and water quality applications; fiber-optic sensors; and unmanned autonomous systems.


logo for SPIE industry eventsOn the SPIE industry stage in the Anaheim Convention Center 11-13 April will be leaders from Ocean Optics, the Aerospace Corp., FLIR, and others to discuss the small satellites known as CubeSats, high-speed imaging and motion analysis, sensing for autonomous vehicles, food safety, thermal imaging, government policy, and other topics.

A keynote talk at 4 pm 12 April from SPIE member Louay Eldada, CEO and cofounder of Quanergy Systems, will focus on opportunities in lidar for autonomous vehicles and the future of sensing.

The industry program includes three days of demonstrations showing how Hollywood films employ technologies originally created for defense applications. IJK Controls, a US company specializing in control system design and analysis, will demonstrate its stabilized gimbals and other tracking and pointing technologies - common on movie sets for many action, adventure, and science fiction films - during the DCS Expo, Tuesday through Thursday.

Gunmar Ristroph, an IJK Controls partner, will also be on an industry panel Thursday morning discussing movie "magic" and cinema science.

Another industry panel, on Tuesday, will explore the emerging optical technologies used in production, from food sorting and characterization to detection of contaminated or counterfeit foods.

All industry sessions are open to registered attendees.

photo of Thomas Burns PHOTO of Parker Abercrombie
Burns Abercrombie

Plenary speakers are Thomas J. Burns, director of the Strategic Technology Office at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and Parker Abercrombie, a senior software engineer and the immersive visualization project lead at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL).

Burns, a pioneer of technologies that can extract information from massive quantities of multisensor data, will give a talk on mastering the complexity of “systems of systems.” Abercrombie will discuss how JPL uses immersive technology such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and holographic modeling for space exploration.

The 47 conferences at SPIE DCS cover a broad range of technologies with applications in many commercial enterprises, not just in the defense and security sector. Sensing, communication, and robotic technologies, for instance, are necessary for food and energy production, agricultural and environmental monitoring, and disaster relief.

New materials developments such as in graphene, quantum dots, and photonic crystals have opened up new possibilities for sensor technologies in fields as diverse as healthcare and entertainment.

The worldwide growth in sensing and imaging devices and techniques has been accompanied by a growing need for data and image analysis tools as well as a means to visualize and act on large amounts of data. The fundamental and emerging topics at DCS that provide solutions for those needs include surveillance and reconnaissance, displays, data and signal processing, target recognition, unmanned autonomous systems, laser metrology, plasmonics, electronic imaging systems, scanning, and quantum information and computation.

image for articleIn the conference on micro- and nanotechnology sensors, systems, and applications, SPIE Fellow Shouleh Nikzad of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) will chair a session on repurposing space sensors and technologies for healthcare and medical applications. The session brings together scientists with multidisciplinary backgrounds to discuss how they have used technologies for astrophysics in medical applications such as detecting cancer. (See her article about this.) 

Among the presenters will be former astronaut and medical doctor Scott Parazynski who will give a keynote talk recounting his experience of deploying JPL's Electronic Nose (ENose) on a 1998 flight to the International Space Station with astronaut John Glenn Jr.

Nikzad will also moderate a panel discussion following her conference session on future directions for these applications.


The "Rising Researchers" program at SPIE DCS is a new SPIE program that offers professional development and networking opportunities to distinguished young researchers who received their terminal degree within the last 10 years. The 10 early-career professionals who conduct outstanding work in product development or research in sensing, imaging, and optics for defense, commercial, and scientific fields and the papers they will present are:

  • SPIE member Nathan Cahill, associate dean for industrial partnerships in the College of Science at Rochester Institute of Technology (USA); piecewise flat embeddings for hyperspectral image analysis
  • SPIE member Matt Graham, principal investigator at the Micro-Femto Energetics Lab at Oregon State University (USA); ultrafast microscopy for resolving the efficiency-limiting photocurrent generation dynamics in van der Waals materials
  • John Hennessy of JPL; materials and process development for the fabrication of far-ultraviolet device-integrated filters for visible-blind Si sensors
  • SPIE member Daniel LeMaster, a technical advisor in the Sensors Directorate of the US Air Force Research Lab; pyBSM, a Python package for modeling imaging systems
  • SPIE member Yongmin Liu of Northeastern University (USA); deep-subwavelength near-field imaging based on perovskite and doped semiconductors at IR frequencies
  • SPIE member Daniela Moody, a machine learning and data scientist at Descartes Labs (USA); crop classification using temporal stacks of multispectral satellite imagery
  • SPIE member Shuo Pang, assistant professor at University of Central Florida; compressive video sensing with side information
  • SPIE member Junsuk Rho, assistant professor at Pohang University of Science and Technology (Republic of Korea); hyperlens for real-time high-throughput biomolecular imaging
  • Adrian Tang of JPL and University of California, Los Angeles (USA); who will give an overview of CMOS technology for radiometry and passive imaging
  • SPIE member Fei Tian, a research assistant professor from Stevens Institute of Technology (USA); lab-on-fiber optofluidic platform for in-situ study of therapeutic peptides and bacterial response

The SPIE Career Center Job Fair at the DCS Expo will run Tuesday and Wednesday. A social hour in the exhibition hall, "Evening at the Expo," will begin at 5 pm Tuesday.

The onsite courses at SPIE DCS are taught by recognized experts in industry and academia and will cover IR sensors and systems, optomechanics, lasers, radiometry, "deep learning" techniques, and other subject matter.

The chair for the Commercial + Scientific Sensing and Imaging symposium is SPIE Fellow Majid Rabbani of the Rochester Institute of Technology (USA). Cochair is SPIE Senior Member and SPIE Fellow Robert Fiete, chief technologist and Engineering Fellow at Harris Corp. Space and Intelligence Systems (USA).

Donald Reago Jr., director of the US Army Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, is chair for the 2017 Defense + Security symposium. Arthur A. Morrish, vice president of advanced concepts and technology at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems (USA), is co-chair.

Anaheim is part of a three-city rotation for SPIE DCS. The event moves to Orlando, FL (USA), in April 2018, and Baltimore, MD (USA), in April 2019.

See news and photos from onsite.

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