Imagine a world where self-driving cars can navigate more clearly…
Where first responders can more easily spot people in distress…
And where doctors can better treat patients.
It's all possible with infrared-imaging technology. And now an early-stage startup is targeting these market opportunities with a patented system.
The startup is called Digital Direct IR. This company has created a series of imaging-systems based on infrared technology. These systems offer a dramatic improvement over current technologies, which presents Digital Direct IR with an opportunity to disrupt several major markets.
Let’s start with an overview of thermal imaging. Thermal imaging is the process of a camera capturing and creating images of an object based on infrared radiation that’s emitted.
Existing technology for making thermal sensors is based on a forty-year-old process called Quantum Well, which requires advanced semiconductor manufacturing — very expensive. It also requires smaller, nano-sized semiconductors to make further advancements.
Another drawback is that existing infrared systems see only part of the infrared spectrum. This light spectrum consists of the visible, near IR (IR is short for infrared radiation), mid IR, and far IR segments.
Right now, anyone who wants to see multiple segments on this spectrum needs to buy multiple cameras and lenses. Soon, they’ll just need to acquire Digital Direct IR’s technology.
This company has a patented camera design that can see visible, near, mid, and far IR from one camera with one lens. Furthermore, it’s designed and patented a pixel detector using a technique that digitally detects thermal conditions with no analog components. This improves sensitivity, simplifies the imaging system, and reduces costs with better performance.
As mentioned, Digital Direct IR’s technology has the potential to disrupt several major markets. For example:
Autonomous Vehicles: Most current sensor technology in autonomous cars involves Lidar — Light Detection and Ranging — a sensing method that uses lasers to measure surrounding obstacles.
Thermal imaging is believed to be a better technology for cars, as it can see people and animals more easily. It also has a longer range of vision and performs better in bad weather.
In 2018, the automotive sensor market was valued at six billion dollars. But by 2025, this market is projected to reach twenty-five billion dollars.
First Responders: Firemen and police officers routinely need to see at night, and through smoke/fog. Thermal vision can assist these first responders in their duties. And according to Mordor Intelligence, the market for night-vision devices is projected to surpass twelve billion dollars by 2027.
Safety/Security: The global smart-home security camera market is valued at more than six billion dollars. And thermal imaging offers enhanced night vision to cameras used to monitor homes, offices, and parking lots.
Healthcare: By 2028, the global medical-imaging market is expected to reach fifty-six billion dollars. Digital Direct IR has already licensed its sensor technology to Owl Peak Labs, a company developing infrared-imaging technology.
This technology adds thermal cancer detection capabilities to medical devices including a swallowable pill camera and thermal detection endoscope.
In addition to its early progress in the healthcare space, Digital Direct IR has tested its technology and received a grant from NASA.
Steve has three decades of operational leadership with tech companies.
Previously, he was President of Micromen, a sensor technology company. He also spent time as an R&D engineering contractor with medical device companies.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Miami University of Ohio and an MBA from Syracuse.
Peter is an electrical engineer with more than thirty-five years of experience in the electronics manufacturing industry.
He holds more than a dozen patents and has done significant research in sectors including electro-optical, imaging, photonics, acoustics, and semiconductor development.
He earned a degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from The City College of New York.
Dr. Ravindra is a professor and the former Chairman of the Physics Department at New Jersey Institute of Technology. He holds a Ph.D.
Dr. Hutt is a consulting optical and semiconductor engineer.
Since 2011, he’s served as President of Optics Coating Research, a technology company, and has been a senior optical design consultant for laser technology design of holographic interferometers.
Additionally, he is a professor of Engineering and Physics at Stevens Institute of Technology.