Author Topic: Requests for thermal imaging core configuration utilities - polite refusal  (Read 2369 times)

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Online Fraser

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Dear All,

I have been receiving a lot of requests for the software utilities that are used to configure thermal imaging cores. I have always received such requests as my archive holds utilities that were either controlled release or have just become unavailable over time (FLIR Omega/M10, Indigo Photon etc)

The issue with providing such configuration software for a thermal imaging core is its end users intended use and, to a degree, their nationality. I am constrained  by the Wassenaar Arrangement and since the events of 24 February 2022 the situation on releasing such software or ‘support’ has become far more serious.

Without making this a political post, readers will be aware of the usefulness of thermal camera equipped drone aircraft. I am not permitted to support hostile activities against the UK or it’s allies under our law, and my allegiance to the Queen. As such I have made the decision to not release any thermal imaging software utilities to persons that I do not know. I am aware that most, if not all, requests for such are innocent, but I have no means to be certain so will take the safe path.

Hopefully the World situation will change soon but, until then, I will be dropping into the background and not providing support for thermal imaging core commissioning. Apologies to those who will be inconvenienced by this decision. This is a lovely friendly apolitical forum where I enjoy assisting others with their projects, but sadly we are in a very unusual situation at the moment and my response is not personal, just in line with my moral compass.

I hope for peace in our World and may it come soon.

Fraser
« Last Edit: May 16, 2022, 11:21:02 am by Fraser »
 
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Offline SeanB

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Yes thank you Fraser for putting this out. From your previous experience I know you are very torn, between helping, and doing nothing. It hopefully will come to an amicable conclusion soon, though it does seem that there are massive ego's that are in conflict there, and unfortunately till they are in check it will be poor. Keeping to the non interference is probably the best to do.

At least you should be able to at least get into the conservatory, and spend some time doing things that you enjoy otherwise.
 
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Online CatalinaWOW

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Thank you for thoughtful position.  While others have railed against restrictions on dissemination of these technologies, current events clearly provide evidence of the consequences of such dissemination.  Regardless of who someone supports in the current difficulties, it is clear that their interests could be harmed.
 
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Offline agiorgitis

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But, isn't it better to release them so they can be used against the russians in this war? So that ukraine gets the upper hand and gets a change to fight back  :-//
 

Online MK14

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But, isn't it better to release them so they can be used against the russians in this war? So that ukraine gets the upper hand and gets a change to fight back  :-//

Firstly, they (OP) wouldn't know for sure, where it is going.  It could be for either side, or even elsewhere.

Secondly, if it is against the rules/law/moral-compass, at these difficult times, then people want to play safe and stick to the rules/law/etc.
 
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Offline Ben321

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Dear All,

I have been receiving a lot of requests for the software utilities that are used to configure thermal imaging cores. I have always received such requests as my archive holds utilities that were either controlled release or have just become unavailable over time (FLIR Omega/M10, Indigo Photon etc)

The issue with providing such configuration software for a thermal imaging core is its end users intended use and, to a degree, their nationality. I am constrained  by the Wassenaar Arrangement and since the events of 24 February 2022 the situation on releasing such software or ‘support’ has become far more serious.

Without making this a political post, readers will be aware of the usefulness of thermal camera equipped drone aircraft. I am not permitted to support hostile activities against the UK or it’s allies under our law, and my allegiance to the Queen. As such I have made the decision to not release any thermal imaging software utilities to persons that I do not know. I am aware that most, if not all, requests for such are innocent, but I have no means to be certain so will take the safe path.

Hopefully the World situation will change soon but, until then, I will be dropping into the background and not providing support for thermal imaging core commissioning. Apologies to those who will be inconvenienced by this decision. This is a lovely friendly apolitical forum where I enjoy assisting others with their projects, but sadly we are in a very unusual situation at the moment and my response is not personal, just in line with my moral compass.

I hope for peace in our World and may it come soon.

Fraser

What exactly do you mean by a "configuration utility"? Do you mean viewer software like FLIR's official Lepton viewer software for Windows? Or do you mean something that actually would let you override the framerate of a thermal camera to turn a 9Hz camera into a 30Hz camera?
 

Offline DaJMasta

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Framerate limits are generally in hardware so they can't be easily bypassed and break export treaties, but in this case I think he means basically any thermal camera software.  The same sort of stuff FLIR makes public for its consumer cameras but for cameras no longer supported, from manufacturers that no longer exist, or for cameras that were more restrictive in their software licensing because of their more sensitive use cases, higher performance, and extreme price tags.

In any case, there are still some software publicly available, and you can always contact the manufacturer or the company that purchased them to try (and if you meet their requirements they may supply it).  I don't know if there's a specific instance that lead to this, but I too hope the world can be more at peace sooner rather than later so that these tools can be appreciated for their many applications instead of just restricted because of their military ones.
 
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Offline zrq

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I feel such positions are not helping the world to be a more peaceful place, but are only annoying innocent hobbyists. I can hardly image any entity that is competent enough as a real threat to your Queen can not obtain better OE equipment -> getting even a InSb camera is actually,... not that hard if you can afford already a missile or a helicopter.

As innocent hobbyists, let's just buy new Chinese VOx cores which are not expensive, free from these nonsense, available at anywhere and forget about these obsolete cores.
 
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Online Fraser

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zrq,

Not to understand a man’s purpose does not make him confused

I envy your innocence but do not presume that you know of what you speak.

With age, comes wisdom and knowledge….. patience Grasshopper, patience.

Fraser
« Last Edit: May 22, 2022, 05:17:53 pm by Fraser »
 

Offline madires

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I feel such positions are not helping the world to be a more peaceful place, but are only annoying innocent hobbyists. I can hardly image any entity that is competent enough as a real threat to your Queen can not obtain better OE equipment -> getting even a InSb camera is actually,... not that hard if you can afford already a missile or a helicopter.

And it doesn't help to blame someone for having a conscience, following the law and trying to do the right thing.
 
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Offline zrq

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Just be fair, uncooled microbolometers are not rocket science today. Whatever your enemy is, either Russian, China, Iran or even North Korea, they have this technology already. To my knowledge, there are more than 3 private owned (not even counting state owned institutes) Chinese companies can already make 320p FPAs, at what ever readout speed they want.

Please forgive me for making this discussion even more political, I'll refrain from going further into this direction and I'll delete it if it's not appropriate: all these export control stuff gave me an impression that those were designed to prevent the hostile countries including China from gaining access to some sensitive technologies. Although hardly aligned with my personal interest (except things really designed to suppress people) , sometimes it works. However in the case of thermal imaging, this game is already lost for the Westerners. "Evil players" already got/developed what they want years ago, and then it's no longer making sense to keep these export control. I heard another version of this story about Chinese high speed ADCs.

I respect your decision and it's 100% understandable to keep a distance from the legal risk. However, believing not distributing software for those old cores can help building a safer world (or a safer Western world, in my view) sounds like lying to yourself. This decision is not going to help any other people.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2022, 07:47:59 pm by zrq »
 
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Online CatalinaWOW

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Just be fair, uncooled microbolometers are not rocket science today. Whatever your enemy is, either Russian, China, Iran or even North Korea, they have this technology already. To my knowledge, there are more than 3 private owned (not even counting state owned institutes) Chinese companies can already make 320p FPAs, at what ever readout speed they want.

Please forgive me for making this discussion even more political, I'll refrain from going further into this direction and I'll delete it if it's not appropriate: all these export control stuff gave me an impression that those were designed to prevent the hostile countries including China from gaining access to some sensitive technologies. Although hardly aligned with my personal interest (except things really designed to suppress people) , sometimes it works. However in the case of thermal imaging, this game is already lost for the Westerners. "Evil players" already got/developed what they want years ago, and then it's no longer making sense to keep these export control. I heard another version of this story about Chinese high speed ADCs.

I respect your decision and it's 100% understandable to keep a distance from the legal risk. However, believing not distributing software for those old cores can help building a safer world (or a safer Western world, in my view) sounds like lying to yourself. This decision is not going to help any other people.

There are two flaws with your argument.  First that bolometers are not rocket science because many countries and companies make them.  While true, not so many make bolometers at the highest spec levels.  Pixel count is not the only parameter of importance for many applications.  Kind of like rocket science.  Many places make orbital rockets.  All of the big players and several others like India, Japan, Australia and Great Britain.  The few at the front edge of this technology (the US, China and Russia) have significant technical investment and good reason to not give that away.  Several others want orbital capability and either can't or just barely are able to.  Iran and North Korea being examples, though there are others.  Some of these worry most of the larger world powers.

Second, this is not only an east vs west issue.  China supports export controls for their own national interests.  Making it difficult for small rogue states or non-state organizations is of benefit to east, west, christian, muslim, hindu and any other major power blocks you might name.

There is substantial legal risk for individuals living in one of the major areas (China, Russia, Europe, the US and others) and significant moral risk for everyone who has access to these technologies.
 
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Offline zrq

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One technical comment: it's true that not so many companies make bolometers at the highest spec levels, but those cores relevant in this post are also too old to be "at high spec level". I'm interpreting the spec levels to be the basic pixel count, NETD and pixel size.
 
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Online RJHayward

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   I'm reading between the lines here...not so concerned with the 'big players', it looks like regulations tailored to address the little guy...the Wanna-be terrorist that will use a few of those gagets, put together for some (perceived or otherwise) harmful act...
The sensor capable of finding political targets, combined, with modest skill, with other capabilities, doesn't need a 'rogue state' that desires to do harm...only an individual, or small group.
 
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Offline zrq

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Then the Wanna-be terrorist can buy a Chinese camera instead or steal a COVID body temperature camera from anywhere and mod it, some of them works even better comparing the overall performance than those older cores concerned here.
 

Online Bud

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The sensor capable of finding political targets

Yes, easy to use a termal imager to identify cold-blooded reptiloids in the crowd of warm fuzzy fellow citizens  :-DD
Facebook-free life and Rigol-free shack.
 
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Offline Tamiore

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The sensor capable of finding political targets

Yes, easy to use a termal imager to identify cold-blooded reptiloids in the crowd of warm fuzzy fellow citizens  :-DD
Come on, man, don't spread this reptiloids conspiracy nonsense! If it gets traction, we might be forced to retrofit all our perfectly serviceable androids with skin warming circuitry, and it will be expensive as hell...
 

Offline Ben321

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Re: Requests for thermal imaging core configuration utilities - polite refusal
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2022, 10:54:37 am »
The idea that the US is the one and only country at the cutting edge of thermal imaging tech is plain hubris. That horse left the barn a long time ago. Russia and China have independently invented the technology, and are improving it, just like the US is doing. I would guess that the US isn't the only country with cutting edge thermal tech right now, but the US is the only country with such strict laws (particularly export laws) regarding thermal cams. If you are in just any random country in the world, the chance is that you won't be allowed to buy a thermal imager from a US manufacturer if the camera's frame rate is over 9Hz (frame rate seems to be the main parameter for separating which cameras can be sold overseas, form those only allowed to be sold in the US). However, you'd likely be able to buy one from a Russian or Chinese manufacturer without any problem, even if the frame rate was well over 9Hz. This means that US thermal camera companies are actually at a disadvantage in the sense of making a profit from selling to anybody who wants to buy one. Chinese manufacturers are in a much better situation this way, and are raking in profits I'm sure.

I get that the US is afraid of terrorists after 9/11, and doesn't want to accidentally supply them with thermal cams (which could give them an advantage in night combat), but the fact is that any of those terrorist groups could easily buy full frame rate, high resolution thermal cams from Chinese companies without a problem. So again the US isn't really preventing the bad guys from getting this tech. They are just making it hard for the average law abiding person to get this tech if they happen to live outside the US.
 
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Online ArsenioDev

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Re: Requests for thermal imaging core configuration utilities - polite refusal
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2022, 02:34:17 pm »
The idea that the US is the one and only country at the cutting edge of thermal imaging tech is plain hubris. That horse left the barn a long time ago. Russia and China have independently invented the technology, and are improving it, just like the US is doing.

Disagreed, I've been gremlining around in imagery of captured russian drones and weapon systems, all their FPAs are Lynred or US made, NONE LOCAL. Their cores are pretty decent tech level, though of note are completely built out of western components on all the critical parts (FPA, ADC, DRAM, FPGA).

But yeah, they don't really use the crappy old cores anymore, mostly VGA or XGA units, locally integrated or Tau which has config utilities available.
There are some wack ass Thales units but those are likely existing core utils.
 
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Offline Vipitis

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Re: Requests for thermal imaging core configuration utilities - polite refusal
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2022, 03:05:54 pm »
There is percent for sueing against export regulations to stay in international competition. But that is only the case if you want to compete in the consumer and commercial markets. Which Teledyne doesn't seem to need. Plenty of advanced technology is controlled. But that doesn't mean it's unobtanium. What you are exposed to in the consumer market is mere a fraction of what the actual cutting edge is.
 
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Online CatalinaWOW

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Re: Requests for thermal imaging core configuration utilities - polite refusal
« Reply #20 on: October 14, 2022, 01:16:09 am »
I agree.  Assuming that the US leads the world in this technology, based on publicly available information, is hubris.  It is also hubris assuming that a few publicly posted numbers define the military utility of any product.  Particularly when those numbers are subject to the same kind of marketing tomfoolery that is used when defining power in sound systems.

If you have a well supported argument for modifying existing export rules there are mechanisms for getting them changed.  This forum isn't that mechanism.  And I am relatively sure that the arguments you have presented here will not carry the day. 
 
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Offline Bill W

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Re: Requests for thermal imaging core configuration utilities - polite refusal
« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2022, 06:02:56 pm »
........... but the US is the only country with such strict laws (particularly export laws) regarding thermal cams. If you are in just any random country in the world, the chance is that you won't be allowed to buy a thermal imager from a US manufacturer if the camera's frame rate is over 9Hz

Totally incorrect.
All the Wassenaar signatories have the same rules restricting 'uncontrolled' export to <9Hz.
Controlled export is 99% of the market and allows those sales of >9Hz to all sorts of people in all sorts of countries.

FLIR T530 30Hz from RS India
https://in.rsdelivers.com/product/flir/flir-t530-24/flir-t530-thermal-imaging-camera-20-650-c-320-x/2020648

Bill


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