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Revolutionary space imaging system, a boost to Australia’s Defence

Credit: Western Sydney University

The public had the opportunity to witness the demonstration of Western Sydney University’s revolutionary and world-first approach to space imaging.

Led by the University’s International Centre for Neuromorphic Systems (ICNS), the Astrosite™ is a mobile space situational awareness (SSA) module, which is set to have game-changing impacts on a number of fields, including defence.

According to a recent press release, the Astrosite™ can capture objects in space with unprecedented temporal resolution, and during the day in real time.

How does it work?

It is using biologically-inspired event-based cameras that function like the eye and brain in order to overcome limitations of cameras’ exposure times and saturation.

Professor André van Schaik, Director of ICNS, said that this innovative technique could be the key to making space a safer place.

The risk of collision between debris, satellites and spacecraft is real because of the number of man-made objects that are currently orbiting in space.

Organisations, particularly those with a commercial interest in space, as well as the national and international defence agencies have become seriously concerned.

The team developed a dynamic imaging system that utilises technology inspired by nature and biology.

The system runs faster, computes more efficiently, uses far less power and produces less data than anything that is currently on the market.

Applications in Defence

Defence application of this technology has already sparked interest.

The Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) Plan Jericho has supported the design and development of the system.

Project research lead Associate Professor Greg Cohen said that the potential of this technology is game-changing.

There are endless potential uses for this technology, according to him.

The Astrosite™, for instance, can observe high-speed phenomena such as satellites and provide early warning of potential collisions.

It can also allow the daytime recording of objects in low earth orbit; facilitate imaging in low-visibility environments; monitor space debris; and allow the high-speed tracking of objects.

The International Centre for Neuromorphic Systems

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Deborah Sweeney explained that this world-first research reflects the University’s commitment to academic excellence and impact-driven research.

As a young and innovative university, they are proud of the strategic partnerships they have established as well as the excellent research that they were able to connect with practical and positive impacts for the communities they serve.

This project further cements the University as a world-class, collaborative and engaged university with a growing international reach and reputation for academic excellence and impact.

The Astrosite™ research team is based at the University’s International Centre for Neuromorphic Systems (ICNS).

The ICNS is a new research centre and part of the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development.

It is explicitly interdisciplinary, by combining electrical engineering, computer science, signal processing, and neuroscience.

Its focus is on developing Neuromorphic Engineering solutions to existing problems and has strong international partnerships within the Neuromorphic engineering community.

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