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The Science of Digital Camouflage Design

Dalai Lama

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The Science of Digital Camouflage Design

by Guy Cramer, President, HyperStealth® Biotechnology Corp. &
Lt. Col. Timothy R. O’Neill, Ph.D., United States Army (Ret.), defense consultant



Why digital?
Lt. Col. Timothy R. O’Neill, Ph.D., United States Army (Ret.), defense consultant, developer of digital camouflage explains the test results below.








These graphs show performance of the improved MARPAT (Dual-Tex derivative) against the current NATO 3-color pattern and a forest green monochrome target, all adjusted for overall brightness.

This test was run under SBIR contract to Office of Naval Research in Fall 2003/Spring 2004 at West Point, NY. Observers were first-year cadets; all has vision 20/20 Snellen or higher; all had normal color vision.

Scenes were presented in random order with one target in each slide. Measure was time in msec required to make a correct detection, and time in msec required to make a correct identification (of target shape).

Graph at left indicates very high performance improvement for the MARPAT (it took more than twice as long to detect).

The slide on the next page (below) shows a similar recognition degradation (that is, it also took longer to identify the target shape once the target was detected).

Overall effects were highly significant statistically.

Results were presented at the midyear joint meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society and Division 19 of the American Psychological Association in March 2004. Results will appear in Military Psychology in 2004.




Designing a digital pattern can be as simple as using graph paper and filling in the squares or as complex as running multiple fractals (graphics with feed back loops) and advanced algorithms through graphics programs, this process is called C2G (Camouflage Designated Enhanced Fractal Geometry). This still doesn't mean you're going to end up with a good concealment pattern, if you don't understand the science and factor that into the design, the best efforts can still come up short as we believe happened with the unrealistic measure the the new U.S. Army pattern (ARPAT).

Designed for multiple environments ARPAT was derived from the U.S. Marines digital MARPAT, however one main difference with ARPAT was the removal of black in the pattern leaving it with three colors and with only one color scheme for Woodland, Desert, and Urban we believe it is equally ineffective in each environment, we affectionately refer to ARPAT as the Alternate Reality Pattern as we cannot determine on what scientific basis it was developed. Dr. O'Neill has designed objective tests of ARPAT to compare the results in a number of environmental settings with Woodland MARAPT / Desert MARPAT and our new Advanced Generation II MARPAT: Woodland / Desert and Cold Weather (3 separate) color schemes. Actual testing is scheduled to take place within the next few months.

Our concern with ARPAT is that concealment effectiveness has been compromised by the one (multi-environment) color scheme requirement, which seems to be based on budgetary restrictions rather than protection of the individual. Our past research shows a minimum of two different color schemes; woodland and high desert are required for sufficient concealment in global operations.

My initial camouflage experimentation began after reading the Canadian Government spent millions on the development of CADPAT in the 1990's. I spent a few hours on my computer and improved on the design, posting these new patterns on the internet. This page caught the attention of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and I began the journey of designing camouflage for government and military. Jordan wanted the best design I could produce and given the lack of bureaucratic red tape usually associated with something on this scale I was able to produce the KA2 pattern, with a number of improvements over CADPAT/MARPAT/ARPAT.

KA2 has a larger Macropattern over Canadian/U.S. digital patterns to better break the symmetry of the soldier. KA2 is omnidirectional but with a higher trend toward horizontal disruption to further break the human SymAxis. Further enhancements of KA2 are the bright and dark areas to mimic natural reflections and shadows which simulate depth. Different color schemes have been adjusted to take advantage of this effect as KA2 Digital Urban for Jordan's Police shows the greatest amount of depth and texture typical of urban/suburban settings. KA2 Digital Desert for Jordan's Army / Air Force has the highest contrast for disruption (Jordan has dark deserts) but the reflective element of the pattern was replaced with a green to represent sparse vegetation, this change removes some of the depth and texture appearance of the Urban pattern making the Jordan Desert Digital closer to sparse Arid/Desert environments where small reflective elements are typically few and far between.

Similar research was use to determine the most appropriate color schemes for KA2 Digital Woodland for Jordan's Special Forces, and the separate KA2 Digital Woodland for the Jordan Royal Guard (not yet shown to public).

As I progressed in pattern development and began to design digital patterns for vehicles for a large Defense Contractor, my work was forwarded to Lt. Col. O'Neill, considered the world expert on camouflage. After reviewing my work Lt. Col. O'Neill asked me to work with him on the design side of new patterns based on his extensive research. These new patterns (which we can't show you) currently undergoing simulation studies, have special features not seen in existing digital patterns and are considered advanced next generation patterns for the U.S. Military.

We believe through the development of over 300 digital concealment patterns, we have overcome many of the obstacles that plague the current field of CCD (Camouflage, Concealment and Deception) in military camouflage design.

 

Dalai Lama

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I did a little experiment. ^^^

The results don't look as great as seen in the first pic. What do you guys think? :confused:
 

Jango

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these camos are really a piece of equipment which can save someones's life in a situation.
 

pmukherjee

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I think the MARPAT is least visible!!! what do you think???
I wonder what happens when this guy has to leave the cover of these bushes and make a dash across the open grassy patch in front of his perch. Or does he plan to spend all his time in the bushes only. The point is that no camo design is ever perfect, that is where 'Concealment' comes in. Camouflage is no good without concealment.
 

Bhushan

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In the first pic soldier is visible but completely invisible in the second pic!!!
These photos are closeups and these guys are snipers who shoot enemy from long distance. So from long distance these guys are completely invisible.
 

gambit

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Is the U.S army trying to make stealth soldiers??? :D
Yes...Philosophically speaking, there are no differences between being 'stealthy' in the EM spectrum and the same in the visible wavelengths. Both have difficulties to overcome. In radar detection, we have what is called the 'clutter rejection threshold'. The definition of 'clutter' -- junk that we do not want to process -- is quite fluid. For a meteorologist, rain drops are desirable but the aircraft passing through the rain formation is not. For an airport trying to maintain order, aircrafts are desirable in one display but weather is clutter, in another display, weather is desirable but aircrafts are not. At the baseline level, clutter includes cosmic background radiation (CBR), assorted radio and television signals, and with today's cellular phone bands, more stuff to process. So at the display level, these signals are immediately discarded.

The human brain works the same way. In any environment, we immediately process and discard what we consider to be 'ordinary'. For example: If I am in a living room, I expect to be surrounded by comfortable furniture such as a couch, a writing desk and matching chair, a TV, a radio. Somethings are so common that I expect to see the same in America or in London or in Paris. The individual items may look different but their utility features are immediately recognizable and can be quickly discarded. A 727 pilot who moved to a 777 would require some adjustment time but it would be far less than from a C-47 to a 727.

But I do not expect to see a bale of hay or an automobile engine or a nude human being. Hopefully the last item is a Playboy model. So if I am in the desert, I do not expect to see a palm tree. If I am in a lush forest, I do not expect to see an artifact like a building. Our brains processes these information so quickly and efficiently that it is both an asset and a liability.

It is an asset because we immediately focus in on out of the ordinary item from the list of 'clutter' that was already processed. Movements are major attractant in any such data processing. That is why preys and predators are often so still -- to reduce their 'attractiveness' level to any data processing that may be looking in their direction.

It is a liability in that if someone who is a predator but behave like a prey, meaning do whatever he can to reduce his 'attractiveness' level, from being still to making himself look like 'clutter', then it is very easy for us to become preys simply because we have ALREADY discarded 'clutter'.

Just like in radar detection, the goal to being 'stealthy' is being rejected from data processing from as far as possible, as soon as possible, and as long as possible. That is why sharpshooters are so feared in combat. You already rejected him the moment you look upon an environment. You have to force yourself to examine the details that you would normally ignored to see if that detail (singular) truly belong in the 'clutter rejection threshold' or not. Then you move onto the next detail (singular). And so on. How much time does that take before you can make a move, which will raise your 'attractiveness' level in return because YOU raised yourself above someone else's 'clutter rejection threshold'?
 

Vassnti

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I did a little experiment. ^^^

The results don't look as great as seen in the first pic. What do you guys think? :confused:
No they dont the MARPAT seems to be convieniently placed on a nice patch of matching trees, a slight advantage is still an advantage. Even the best camoflage is going to depend on your surroundings.

 

gambit

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No they dont the MARPAT seems to be convieniently placed on a nice patch of matching trees, a slight advantage is still an advantage. Even the best camoflage is going to depend on your surroundings.

My data processing initially completely discarded that green mass. I had to radically lower the threshold to catch that anomaly...:lol:
 

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