Collecting – and interpreting -- sensor data

systems outfitted with the TerraSight software, and has orders for another 70, company officials said.

Note that Sarnoff is the only for-profit unit of SRI International, a research-and-development firm based in Menlo Park, California. SRI International originally was part of Stanford University, Palo Alto, California.

In 2008 Sarnoff had revenues of roughly $100 million. The BETSS-C win that year was big for the company, Bradburn said. The contract allowed Sarnoff to shift from research into selling products. “BETSS-C was a pretty large one for us,” Bradburn said. “We expect that BETSS-C is going to take us into other areas of persistent surveillance.”

We’re really using the TerraSight system as a way to thrust into the marketplace,” Clifton said. “Certainly, TerraSight has applications in other markets, and we’re exploring those — critical infrastructure protection, any kind of security applications.”

The BETSS-C sale allowed Sarnoff to set up a production plant to support Terra-Sight and to start producing some of the other surveillance and security products it’s been developing.

Among them is a gatekeeper system called Iris on the Move, a camera system that detects a person’s movement through an electronic doorway. It then finds and photographs that person’s iris, matching that portion of his or her eye to a database of, for example, registered employees at a building.

Sarnoff said the system can process up to 30 people a minute. The company is looking at markets for this system, such as nuclear power plant security, and the Marine Corps is trying out a drive-through system based on the iris-recognition technology.

Other Sarnoff products include its Acadia Stabilizer, a processor that can be used in a camera to stabilize shaky video images coming from a UAV, for example. Another is the Acadia Fuser, which fuses infrared and visible light views and could be used in night-vision goggles. Sarnoff originally developed both devices for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, based in Arlington.

Boessenkool writes that Sarnoff is talking with FLIR Systems of Portland, Oregon, about integrating the Acadia Stabilizer with FLIR’s gimbal camera system, according to company officials.

Analysts said Sarnoff appears to have picked a good vein to mine with its surveillance gear, as it answers the U.S. military’s immediate need for tools to process all the data it gets through cameras and sensors. “They’re good in the industry about taking reams of data coming off video links and exploiting them and really cueing them for the end user,” said Tess Oxenstierna, managing director of the aerospace and defense group at the Bank Street Group in Stamford, Connecticut, a private investment firm.

They’re known for that in the industry,” she said. “If you look at their products and services, they have a ton of things around video processing — TerraSight video exploitation, real-time video processing.”

Acting CEO Clifton said he hopes to see Sarnoff’s revenues double in five years. Since 2001 the company’s mix of activities has switched from predominantly commercial to predominantly defense. Clifton said he sees growth continuing in the surveillance market.

From a technology perspective, we will be in the video space, a big area with the surveillance market continuing to grow, and we’ll be part of that,” Clifton said. “We have new programs, for example, mixed reality training with avatars. [There’s] a lot of opportunity there with gaming and defense.”