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Frequently Asked Questions

Q:

What is a video tracker?

A:

A video tracker is a device which processes a video signal to output the location of a target of interest. Typically, the target location is measured in pixels and lines referenced to the center of the video image. The target coordinates may be further processed and used for pedestal motion control or feature measurement.

Q:

What is the difference between hardware and software based video trackers?

A:

Our dedicated hardware based video trackers perform a large portion of the video processing in hardware operating on the raw pixel stream in real-time without needing to buffer, capture or store the video data. The target location output is optimized for minimal latency (microseconds) and jitter from frame to frame. Our trackers are small, low power (under 15 watts) and ruggedized for extreme environments. Some models can process high frame rate video (up to 4000Hz) to further increase system performance. Software tracker are typically computer processor based with a video frame grabber. Latency is high (a frame time or more) and jitter is rarely controlled or analyzed. Software trackers are typically large (computer sized) and have corresponding power requirements (100 to 300 watts).

Q:

What is a video tracking system?

A:

A video tracking system incorporates a video tracker to control the motors of a pedestal to keep the entire system pointed at a moving target. Typically, other sensors (radar, antennas, laser range finders, etc...), counter measures or munitions are also mounted on the pedestal. Tracking performance is limited by the pedestal's mechanics and the video tracker's output latency and jitter.

Q:

What are common applications for tracking systems?

A:

The four major areas video tracking systems are applied to are tactical, simulation, test & measurement and security & surveillance.
Typical applications include:

  • Weapon System Director
  • Electronic Warfare Systems and Simulators
  • Munitions and Missile Tracking
  • Vehicle and Aircraft Tracking
  • Simulation and Training Systems
  • Electronic Countermeasures Systems and Evaluation
  • Laser System Alignment
  • Spatial Measurement of Objects
  • Surveillance
  • Bomb and Weapons Scoring
  • Weapon System Evaluation
  • Re-entry Vehicle and Satellite Tracking
  • Automated Calibration Systems
  • Trajectory Analysis

Q:

What video sources do your trackers support?

A:

Our trackers support RS-170/RS-170A/CCIR black & white and NTSC/PAL color analog video signals as well as Camera Link, 3G HD-SDI and DVI digital video.

Q:

How do I control and receive data from the tracker?

A:

Our trackers have a serial interface (RS-232 or RS-422 selectable), gigabit Ethernet and bus level interfaces (VME, PCI, PCIe or cPCI) for communication. Our communications protocol is fully documented down the hardware level in our user manual. We also provide a software development kit (SDK) with drivers, API, header files and sample code. A graphical user interface (GUI) which supports all tracker functions is also provided.

Q:

What types of sensors can be used with your trackers?

A:

Any sensor which produces a video signal (analog or digital) can be interfaced with our tracker. Typical video sensors include visible, infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV). The tracker also supports a wide range of non-video devices and sensors, including (but not limited to): servo controllers, lens controllers, IR cameras, laser rangefinders (LRF), identification friend or foe (IFF) and radar slaving.

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