This Is the Camera That Found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Law enforcement didn’t pull any punches during its manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers, going so far as to lock down an entire metropolis while they searched. Even when officers thought they had the second suspect cornered in Watertown boat, they confirmed their suspicions with a camera that can spot people from up to 10 miles away. Just to be sure.
Developed by the FLIR corporation, it’s known as the Star SAFIRE III. This multi-imaging system consists of a 15-inch gimbal packed with a 640 x 480 Forward Looking Infrared camera operating at the 3-5 μm wavelength, as well as an optional color zoom camera, spotter scope, low-light camera, 25km laser rangefinder, pointer, and illuminator. Altogether the unit weighs about 100 pounds, which makes it small enough to fit on helicopters and planes the size of Cesnas, it’s also been utilized as optional equipment for the Predator Drone, according to Andy Teich, President of FLIR.
“One of the unique capabilities of the camera is that…[it’s] imaging in the midwave region, which is the three to five micron range of the spectrum,” Teich told Gizmodo. “There are many plastics that become transparent in those wavelengths. And in this case, the boat had one of these shrink-wrap coverings—opaque plastic shrink wrap covering—and the SAFIRE saw right through that covering.”