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09 June 2016

Bertin Launches Smart Night Vision Fusion - FUSIONSIGHT

Bertin, a CNIM Group subsidiary, has unveiled its brand new FUSIONSIGHT Night Vision Device, which will be presented to the world during Eurosatory 2016, held 13-17 June in Paris, France. Developed in partnership with Photonis, FUSIONSIGHT is a compact monocular that combines a sensor with a thermal image sensor. When combined, these sensors enhance situational awareness and provide users with the option of using a thermal image, colour optical image, or a fused thermal and full colour image, that can also be recorded.

FUSIONSIGHT is a hand held device that features smart colour fusion of images. (Photos via Photonis)

FUSIONSIGHT assists soldiers by drastically enhancing the detection, recognition and identification capability, making it a key device for, e.g. Police and Homeland Security, to quickly investigate or for long-term surveillance. Even under limited visibility and low light conditions, FUSIONSIGHT  provides substantial visual support for search and rescue (SAR) missions, locating missing persons and casualties. The combined view of thermal and colour imaging is especially critical in urban environments or structures that provide little ambient light and have multiple barriers behind which a potential threat can conceal themselves.

FUSIONSIGHT: Night & Day Field Vision Enhancer

FUSIONSIGHT is a hand held device that features smart colour fusion of images. The first image is recorded by a state-of-the-art colour imaging sensor (powered by Photonis) that provides a colour image in extreme low light conditions (~10mlx) without additional illumination. The second image is recorded by a high-resolution thermal imaging sensor that can detect in any night condition (down to 1mlx). The embedded real-time image processor automatically selects key information from each sensor, allowing users to see at dark night even better than in broad daylight, and can record and be saved as a digital file. The smart digital fusion also overcomes the traditional limitations of each individual sensor: FUSIONSIGHT can detect through smoke, other obscurants and in deep night conditions with a thermal sensor, while providing an optical color image that can detect through windows with sufficient resolution to allow positive identification thanks to the colour imaging sensor.

Photonis provided the KAMELEON Colour Image Sensor for Bertin's FUSIONSIGHT.

FUSIONSIGHT’s assets include:

  • All-in-one with 3 viewing modes: color low light, thermal and smart fusion
  • Night & day threat & camouflage detection (ranging up to 3km)
  • Ergonomic design inspired by user’s needs
  • Image recording & HD video output for proof collection

Project partner Photonis provided their KAMELEON Colour Image Sensor for the FUSIONSIGHT, using a Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) similar to mobile phones, which in itself, cannot distinguish colours. To identify colour, a patented innovation allows two raw images and a reconstruction algorithm to reproduce the final image in colour, in real time.

In 2015, Photonis received the prestigious French Army “Prix General Chanson” award for their innovative digital night vision sensor. An added advantage of the KAMELEON sensor is the ability to use it under daylight and at night, up to night level 3 (quarter moon with cloud cover). In lower light levels, the sensor will revert visible images to black and white. KAMELEON is developed by the Photonis’ Digital Imaging division.

Our collaboration with Photonis began nearly three years ago, when both companies allied to jointly develop cutting-edge solutions to meet National Defence’s needs more closely,” Bruno Vallayer, Managing Director of Bertin Systems and Instrumentation, stated. “Together we decided to take the lead in building on the latest fully-mastered optronics innovations to offer 100%-made-in-France solutions. This approach would also allow to benefit from the unique agility that characterizes SMEs in order to provide powerful, competitive and scalable devices brought to market in the shortest time as possible.

Casper Dekker, Managing Director of Photonis Digital Imaging, continued: "We are pleased to partner with Bertin on such an innovative project. It is a perfect match for our award winning technology. The expertise of both companies has resulted in a high performing sight that provides dismounted users the ability to rapidly Detect, Recognize & Identify (DRI) targets in all conditions and environments. The uniqueness of DRI at low light conditions and recording capability for evidence purposes is a great fit for modern warfare requirements.

The FusionSight project is part of a newly established Night Vision Technology Innovation alliance, currently forged between Bertin Technologies, Photonis, and OPTSYS, and it supports the scope of the decision by the French procurement agency DGA and CNES to support the French Optronics industry and to define a joint R&D roadmap. The French Optronics industry has an estimated annual turnover of €2.5 billion (in 2012) representing 10% of the global market, and ranks second after the USA.