engineering a miniature insitu thermo elastic stress camera

outerspace electronic and embedded software engineers have developed a miniature Insitu Thermoelastic Stress (ITS) camera for 1 MILLIKELVIN (1mK). The camera complements an impressive product line-up of cameras that outerspace has developed for 1mK. 

Engineered for stress validation of mechanical structures, including aircraft frames, the mini cameras and software ‘close the loop’ of the Finite Element Method without the need for strain gauges within seconds. 

Measuring only 45mm wide x 48mm high x 98.5mm long, the miniature camera includes primarily a microbolometer and visual camera and images are processed onboard by a quad core computer.

thermal camera detects fatique cracks in aircraft wing structure
the ITS cameras indicate fatigue cracks and their precise location, image supplied by 1mK


The miniature ITS camera. A unique combination of technical features:

  • a thermal image sensor14 mm microbolometer and 8.7mm microbolometer:

A microbolometer is an uncooled thermal sensor for detecting infrared radiation. The uncooled nature of the sensor allows it to be compact. The core technology in the product can improve the signal-to-noise quality, and as the name 1 MILLIKELVIN suggests, it can detect extremely small changes in temperature of a sample and directly correlate this with stress and strain.

  • a high resolution visual camera:

Unlike the thermal image sensor, this camera can give a human recognizable picture. Both images can be overlaid to allow easy test setup and interpretation of the sample under test, whether that is an airframe structure, a metal test coupon or any object that is under test.

  • onboard image processing and edge computing:

High compute and high memory are packed inside this little camera. It has an Advanced RISC Machines reduced instruction set computer (ARM) quad core with up to 8 GB of internal memory. Images are captured from the cameras and processed onboard. Multiple cameras can be networked for  more complex thermoelastic stress analysis.


 advanced engineering technologies combined for a perfect result: 

  • image serial processing
  • rigid-flex printed circuit boards
  • USB3 with digital serial processor
  • ARM computer 
  • ethernet
  • accelerometer
  • HDMI
  • robust design with ingress protection
  • security SHA 256 in hardware for intellectual property protection


specialized electronic and embedded software engineering focus:

Our product development team provided overall project management expertise, with a focus on specialized electronic engineering and embedded software engineering to create an innovative and powerful miniature camera system for 1mK, with product design and development for exterior styling.

The miniature thermal camera and its predecessor (below), the original 1mK camera, were developed in close collaboration with 1mK and defense industry providers in Australia.

electronic design for thermal camera by outerspace design
internal detail view of original 1mK thermal camera design

Our engineers and designers are project management professionals who thrive on solving challenging technical problems for clients. We work closely with clients like 1mK to build and develop high-end, technically innovative products. 

worshop at outerspace design with client and collaborators
early workshop at outerspace with 1mK and defense industry representatives, Scott Foster, head of electronic engineering at outerspace (centre rear)

Our team provides guidance on creating an initial brief, through to managing production of working prototypes and providing engineering drawings and production specifications, for the successful manufacture of products. 

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