Instrumentation

MTRI applies cutting-edge remote sensing and geospatial analysis techniques to understand natural and manmade environments. To be at the forefront of the industry, staff are constructing and using innovative technologies which includes engineering sensors, RADAR, and computer clusters to improve project results. Details of the instramentation developed by MTRI are listed below.

3-D Optical Bridge-evaluation System (3DOBS) - 3DOBS is an easily deployable bridge evaluation system used for rapidly assessing surface condition indicators such as the area, volume, and location of spalls and scaling.

Ablatometer - The Glacier Ablation Sensor (GASS) is a measurement and data-logging system intended to collect information on glacier movement and melting. Based on an inexpensive, automated, electronics package developed at Altarum, it is capable of making a wide range of measurements rapidly and simply, storing the results for later retrieval and analysis.

Automated Lagrangian Water Quality Analysis System (ALWAS) - ALWAS is an inexpensive, free-floating, water quality measuring and watershed evaluation system. It includes the buoy, water quality and parameter sensors, a microprocessor and recording device, geographic information system (GIS) interface software, and a decision support system (DSS) that generates water quality maps based on the measurements.

Aerial Sensing - MTRI has a variety of helicopter based remote control helicopters and multirotor devices that are utilized to enhance our remote sensing capability. The DJI Phantom quadcopters are used to carry GoPro cameras or small point-and-shoots and larger Bergen Hexacopters and the Tazer 800 single rotor helicopters are used to carry DSLRs and other sensing equipment. Currently these systems are being used to investigate transportation, water quality and invasive species issues.

Analytical Spectral Devices, Inc. (ASD) FieldSpec3 Spectroradiometer - Enhancing MTRI’s remote sensing field capabilities is the FieldSpec3 Spectroradiometer. This instrument accurately measures reflectance, transmittance, radiance, or irradiance in the full spectrum range of 350-2500 nm. It was specifically designed for field environment remote sensing to acquire visible near-infrared (VNIR) and short-wave infrared (SWIR) spectra. Capabilities include both terrestrial and aquatic spectral data collection using three detectors and multiple foreoptic attachments, including one designed specifically for the laboratory environment. In aquatic collections, researchers at MTRI utilize a custom-built gimbal and rod which allows for deployment from boats, bridges, etc.

Bathyboat - A new, cost-effective, easily-deployable, water depth mapping tool for restricted harbors and other hard-to-access remote locations. The University of Michigan Marine Hydrodynamics Laboratory (MHL) in collaboration with the Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI) has designed, fabricated, and field tested this remotely controlled and electrically powered boat to conduct precision bathymetric surveys.

Cluster Computer - MTRI houses and operates one of the Tech computing clusters. This resource is available to all Tech staff and students who might need to run computationally intensive, or highly parallel, tasks. The system consists of 3 nodes containing 72 CPUs, 192 GB of RAM, and 4.5TB of disk storage. The system memory and storage can be expanded as needed. There is space remaining for an additional 6 nodes (144 CPUs) i n the current equipment rack.

Ground Penetrating RADAR (GPR) - MTRI is researching and using GPR in the following areas to image the subsurface; ice penetration technology, underground waterflow, 3-D underground imaging, non-destructive testing, foilage/biomass measurement, soil moisture/salt intrusion measurement, permafrost imaging/characterization, avalanche/mine rescue, and signal/image processing, RADAR system design, compressed sensing research.

Water and Weather Monitoring Buoys - Michigan Technological University and MTRI are implementing key observing systems and modeling improvements that focus on critical needs of the Great Lakes region that affect the health, ecological integrity and economic viability of the region. Priority issues are climate change impacts, ecosystem and food web dynamics, protection of public health, and navigation safety and efficiency. The data acquired by the buoys support the Lake Superior Water Monitoring and Information System, which focuses on education, research, and development of technology to sense and understand the Great Lakes environment.

Plant Canopy Analyzer - Leaf Area Index (LAI) measurements help to parameterize the water balance in Michigan in order to obtain accurate estimations of evapotranspiration.

Optical Phenomenology Lab - Provides a facility to make a wide variety of coherent and incoherent measurements. The lab can be configured, as an example, for interferometric and fringe measurements suitable for concept evaluation.

Software defined radios (SDRs) - Software defined radios provide the capability to continuously record and playback RF signals (1 MHz - 6 GHz) with up to 25 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth. The radios can be synchronized via GPS to allow for simultaneous recording at sites separated by several kilometers. MTRI has successfully implemented a three-node system that recorded 25 MHz of bandwidth for up 90 seconds on each node. The SDRs can also be used for spread-spectrum and cognitive radio applications.

Spatial Analysis Lab - Consists of a full suite of GIS and remote sensing software, a large and scalable storage system, and large-format printing capabilities. GIS software includes ESRI’s ArcGIS (ArcInfo), ArcIMS, ArcSDE, ArcPad, Spatial Analyst, and the Geostatistical Analyst; remote sensing software includes ERDAS Imagine, ENVI with IDL, ERMapper, Definiens eCognition, and other relevant software including Google Earth Professional and Trimble Pathfinder Office. The SAL data storage system holds up to 6 terabytes of spatial data, and has a comprehensive collection of GIS layers for study areas including the Great Lakes region and Alaska. MTRI operates two ArcIMS servers, an Image Web Server, a remote access GIS server, six high-speed GIS workstations, and a sub-meter capable Trimble GeoXT GPS unit.

Survey Vessel Husky Traveler - Michigan Tech’s Survey Vessel, the “Husky Traveler,” is instrumental in field truthing satellite derived data. The Husky Traveler is outfitted to help with field data collection that assists in submerged aquatic vegetation, bathymetry and bottom type mapping, in the Great Lakes.

Reconfigurable Compact Range and Facility - A compact range measurement facility is being utilized to support research for radar imaging and radar cross-section measurements. The range instrumentation is built around Hughes MMS-300 radar that supports fully polarimetric measurements over the frequency range of 4.5 to 18 GHz. We are currently extending the range of operation to 94 GHz.