News | Feb 21, 2017

A 3D Optical Technology for Measuring Force

In the early 2000s, the Air Force was looking for a better way to understand blast patterns in order to design missiles that would minimize collateral damage. To accomplish that goal, they needed a whole new way of measuring force across a variety of modern materials.

With support from the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, Trilion Quality System developed a novel way of measuring strain optically instead of mechanically. The Trilion system uses ultra-high-speed cameras and software to create strain maps of whole structures—and is now being used on everything from microscopic components to athletic gear, roads, bridges, and even the Space Shuttle.

Trilion’s 3D optical technology is just one of many successful innovations enabled by the US Air Force’s SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. For more information, visit

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