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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 19, 2005

Schumer, Clinton: Congressional Panel Backs $17.75 Million For Defense Projects To Benefit The Greater Rochester/Finger Lakes Region

Schumer, Clinton: Defense Projects are Vitally Important for the New York State Economy and National Security

Washington, DC -- US Senators Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton today announced that the Joint House and Senate Conference Committee approved $17.75 million in the FY06 Defense Department Appropriations bill for projects to benefit the Greater Rochester and Finger Lakes regions. The House has approved the bill. The Senate is expected to work on the Defense Appropriations bill this week. If the bill is passed, it will be sent to the President for his signature.

Projects to be funded under the bill include, $1.65 million for Oblique Angle Hyperspectral Image Fusion and Analysis for Change Detection research at Virtual Scopics, $1 million to Integrated Nano-Technologies for Bio-Warfare Testing, $3 million to RIT’s Defense Systems Modernization and Sustainment Initiative, $2 million to General Motors for Next Generation Non-Tactial Vehicle Propulsion, $2 million for Photon Gear’s Agile Laser Eye Protection project $2 million to the National Center for Infotonics, $5.1 million for Icuiti’s Advanced Multipurpose Microdisplay and $1 million for VirtualScopics’ Work-Flow Engine for Off-Line Image Analysis.

“This is great news for the Finger Lakes," said Schumer. "Additional funds will not only boost the area economy, but also put the Finger Lakes and New York State at the forefront of defense technology. As the men and women of our military bravely serve our country all over the world, the funding for these Finger Lakes defense projects will vastly improve national security technology and will give our armed forces an even greater edge."

“The Greater Rochester and Finger Lakes regions have already proven to the world its leadership in cutting-edge defense research and technology,” Senator Clinton said. “This new funding will help protect our troops, both at home and abroad, and is an important investment in our local companies and the communities they support.”

Photon Gear will receive $2 million in federal funds for Agile Laser Eye Protection research. Hostile use of lasers against U.S. military assets to inflict injury, damage targeting sensors, and mission-denial through dazzling of personnel / sensors are growing threats. The eyesight of aircrew and electro-optical sensors are of particular concern due to their susceptibility to damage. Currently available laser eye protection targets known, fixed wavelength laser threats. While a fieldable, day-only Agile form of laser eye protection is nearing completion, there is an urgent need for an integrated frequency agile form of laser-eye protection that simultaneously protects during both day and night operations. An intensified frequency agile device would ultimately provide cost savings to the military by eliminating the need for different protection to cover all the potential wavelengths suitable for day and night time use. Funding will go towards the development of an intensified frequency agile device that would eliminate the need for different protection to cover all the potential wavelengths suitable for day and night time use.

Virtual Scopics will receive $1.65 million in federal funds for Oblique Angle Hyperspectral Image Fusion and Analysis for Change Detection research. Current hyperspectral targeting systems must fly directly over targets and are therefore vulnerable to shoot-down. They are also vulnerable to deception using two-dimensional decoys. These funds will support the development of systems that will permit targeting at long range thus reducing risk to targeting system from shoot-down. These systems will also develop novel image registration capabilities in order to perform change detection and three-dimensional modeling.

$1 million is provided in the bill for Integrated Nanotechnology of Henrietta for its Bio-Warfare Testing program. This funding would support the development of a Special Operations Field Biological Agent Identification System, a light-weight, portable, highly reliable system for detection and identification of specific biological agents in support of Special Operations Command, would locate, identify and render safe weapons of mass destruction.

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) will receive $3 million in federal funds for the Defense Systems Modernization and Sustainment Initiative. The objective of this research program is to improve the modernization, readiness and sustainment of defense systems by developing processes and tools to track the status and future health of defense systems, detect, diagnose and repair material aging failures, and provide decision support systems for use in determining when and how to upgrade these systems. The Department of Defense, while developing new systems that will enable a leap-ahead or transformation in military capability, must simultaneously maintain and improve the capabilities of existing systems. The number and complexity of legacy systems, as well as the staggering replacement costs, demand that attention and resources continue to be effectively allocated to current systems. This research program provides DOD with a comprehensive approach to address these issues based on life-cycle engineering principles. Over the past several years, these programs have already yielded significant cost savings for the manufacture and upgrade of several platforms and systems, as well as significantly extending the life of existing systems.

$2 million in federal funds will go to General Motors for the Next Generation Non-Tactical Vehicle Propulsion initiative. Funding will support the design, development and demonstration of next generation non-tactical vehicle propulsion technology to enhance mission performance capability, increase fuel economy and reduce exhaust emissions of U.S. military non-tactical vehicles at U.S. military installations. Following on development begun last year, the initiative proposes to demonstrate two commercially-based non-tactical SUV-style vehicles with a single front wheel drive utilizing the latest designs in the fuel cell power unit. The General Motors light truck evaluated in this demonstration will utilize fuel cells designed and built in Honeoye Falls, NY.

$2 million in federal funds will be awarded to the National Center for Infotonics. Photonics and micro-systems will be the key components in many future technologies and weapons systems of the military. Funding will support research into photonics and micro-systems applications for defense applications, Measurement and Control Systems, Information and Communications Systems and Power Technologies. Technologies developed at the National Center for Infotonics will also have chem-bio detection and health monitoring applications. $5.1 million in federal funds will go to Icuiti for the Advanced Multipurpose Microdisplay System. Special Operations Forces employ a vast array of sophisticated sensors such as thermal and infrared devices, video from unmanned aerial vehicles, and massive amounts of digital information from sensors used to detect targets or nuclear, biological, and chemical threats. Special Operations Forces urgently need a SOF Counter-proliferation Visualization System that will integrate advanced microdisplay and miniature electronics with a heads-up display, personal digital assistant/computer, wireless communication, and a target/vector head tracking system for advanced, hands-free situation awareness. Icuiti Corporation has a new microdisplay-based low profile lens system that can be integrated into a standard pair of sunglasses. Special Operations users could view data from a variety of sources, without anyone knowing they are wearing it. Covert operators could receive real-time mission and sensor information without any risk of compromising their status. First prototype articles are scheduled for delivery to USSOCOM by the end of this calendar year. This funding will help finish the development of the lens and display system.

$1 million in federal funds will go towards VirtualScopics’ Work-Flow Engine for Off-Line Image Analysis. Currently deployed sensor systems generate far more image data than can be effectively analyzed in a timely fashion currently. There is a critical need for a flexible, user-configurable image analysis system for off-line analysis of collected surveillance and reconnaissance data. VirtualScopics has a unique combination of expertise in workflow engine design for efficient image analysis, image analysis automation, and task-specific issues related to analysis of hyperspectral optical imagery and synthetic aperture radar. The project will develop a task-configurable end-to-end image analysis system incorporating data management, spectral detection for minefields, chemical plumes, etc., and assisted target recognition. Such a system could be of high utility both to stateside analysts and to the warfighter in the field.

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