Light detection and ranging (LIDAR) is a remote optical sensing technology for various applications, including atmospheric research. For example, LIDAR can be used in ceilometers, which measure cloud elevations or cloud ceiling levels, which can be important in aviation and weather forecasting. According to the ’044 patent, a typical LIDAR system includes a pulsed light source, a detector, and timing circuitry to measure the time interval between the transmission of a light pulse and its detection after being reflected from the cloud. The ’044 patent discloses a LIDAR apparatus that uses optical fibers to achieve an optimum coaxial configuration (i.e., transmitted and reflected light propagate along the same axis) that is “more compact … and allows separation of the optical assembly from the electronic assembly for ease of manufacturing and maintenance” while being less affected by internal cross-talk or back reflections of the transmitted beam.
According to its website, Oceanit Labs is “one of Hawaii’s largest and most diversified science and engineering companies,” and lists the State of Hawaii, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, U.S. Missile Defense Agency, National Science Foundation, and NASA as its clients. A video on the company’s website explains that Oceanit has spun off various start-up companies, each focusing on a particular product/technology. One of Oceanit’s spin-offs, Safe Sky Technologies, “designs and develops next-generation ceilometers and ceilometer systems with 3D-scanning capabilities.”
According to the USPTO database, Oceanit has been granted 23 U.S. patents, including four in 2010, and two so far in 2011 (including the ’044 patent).