The army has signed a multi-million dollar contract with a Hawaii company for a invention that could save lives on the battlefield. It's a device that could mean the difference between life and death.
"IEDs are always a big problem, road side bombs, snipers, " begins ken Cheung, Oceanit's Science and Technology Manager. "They're really demoralizing, because they're nothing you can do about it."
But Oceanit has caught the eye of the U.S military with a new tool that could be a game changer. It took the company 10 years to develop a technology and a camera so fast it operates at 10,000 frames per second.
Cheung says their Hostile Fire Detection System lifts the "fog of war."
"This is actually the eyeball of the sensor," he says pointing to a metal box about 8 inches high and 4 inches wide, with a silver dome on the top.
He says it sees 360 degrees and instantaneously detects sparks, explosions and flashes.
"Small arms, guns, RPG's, mortars or anything that fires out of tube," he says.
There are detection systems already on the battlefield, but they are systems with problems he says.
"The soldiers and marines are turning off their systems because they give too many false alarms.
False alarms such as the flash of a reflection, the glint from the sun or the flick of a lighter. But Oceanit's infrared technology is so fast, so specialized it can not only tell the difference between a glint and gunfire:
"You can actually tell what kind of weapon and what kind of bullet was shot from it," finishes Cheung.
A few years ago, Oceanit won a $100,000 grant to prove their idea could work, then, a million dollars to build a prototype, and now the army is paying them millions more to make a model to test on the battlefield.
"This is fast track kind of money," says Cheung.
They plant to build a unit that hangs off a helicopter, one that sits on a humvee, and one day, a smaller version planted in a drone.
There's more work to do. Oceanit is partnering with another company to develop a counter attack that can target exactly where a shot came from and instantaneously fire back.
"So hopefully soon we can make a difference for our fighters."
There's another level to this technology. Oceanit believes law enforcement will be able to use it for surveillance and detection at airports, borders and in neighborhoods. It could also be used to sense obstacles to prevent you from crashing your car.