company insight

OSI - Original Research For Atmospheric Measurement Applications

Building on over 30 years of ground-breaking research, with NASA, NOAA, U.S. Army, and Air Force, Optical Scientific, Inc. (OSI) has developed a world-wide reputation for accuracy and rugged reliability. OSI‘s product line of advanced optical sensors, present weather sensors, and AWOS systems are recognized as leaders in the global market.

In 1981 Dr. Ting-I Wang, working at the NOAA ERL Wave Propagation Laboratory published a seminal paper: Wind Measurements By Temporal Cross-Correlation Of Optical Scintillations showing how this method could be used to measure changes in air flow just by analyzing the movement of air through a beam of light. Other papers refining this approach soon followed, along with grant of original US patents.

In 1985, Scientific Technology, Inc. was formed to develop and apply this concept to the collection of weather data. This small core company located in the I-270 high-technology corridor outside Washington, DC, soon began producing weather instruments of unprecedented accuracy and reliability. From simple Optical Rain Gauges (ORG) and LED Weather Identifiers (LEDWI), the policy of constant research and development led to more patent grants and more sophisticated instruments such as Optical Weather Identifier (OWI) for present weather and visibility, and Long-baseline Optical Anemometer (LOA) which can measure air movement over a distance of up to 10 kilometers.

These instruments found a variety of uses in atmospheric data reporting for NASA, NOAA, US Army, US Air Force, along with Sandia, and Argonne National Laboratories. State, local governments, and commercial ventures also put the sensors to work at airports, along highways, in shipboard and industrial applications, where they are still in service today. (Of the 1100 LEDWI sensors fielded in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, all 1100 are still in use.)

In 1999, to reflect the growing capabilities and expansion of the business model, the company name was changed to Optical Scientific, Inc. The end of that year was marked with the introduction of the OFS 2000 Optical Flow Sensor. A refinement and miniaturization of the LOA technology, this rugged, dependable, highly-accurate air/gas flow sensor - tested and verified at NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) – has become the premier flow sensor for industries concerned with limiting greenhouse gas emissions, or simply seeking more efficient process control.

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Along with development of new sensors, OSI has followed a policy of careful, continuous refinement to existing products, and exploration of new avenues. In 2006, we began offering not only weather precipitation and visibility sensors, but complete Modular Automated Weather Observation Systems (MAWOS) capable of delivering complete present weather data – accessable by VHF radio, cell phone, land line, or internet.

Following the recent rise of conflict in so many parts of the world, we have added two items to our product offering:


A minaturized version of our best-selling OWI sensor. Capable of being carried in a back pack, this sensor is quick to set up, rugged, reliable and operates unattended. Developed for the US Army, this compact sensor provides equal performance with our full-sized sensors, delivering accurate weather data from field locations.

HazMET 100

A portable tactical weather station developed for the U.S. Army, designed to be used in the event of a hazardous chemical release, environmental emergency, or gas attack. Especially configured to work with EPA’s ALOHA dispersion modeling program, HazMET100 can be deployed and transmitting atmospheric data to a distant monitoring base within minutes. It can be mounted on a moving platform. In this mode, it will also transmit data showing heading, pitch & roll, ground speed, relative wind speed and direction. Just set it up, switch it on, and go.

With the continuing success of our scientific research, sensors, systems, and technology, OSI has been able to expand it’s market globally and now supports customers in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, China, and Australia.

Our progress has been due to our constant effort to meet our customer’s needs: military, scientific, civil, commercial or industrial. We take pride in our history of original research, innovative thinking, supporting our customers, and - simply making the best products we can.

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Contact details:

If you care to learn more about how our technology can be tailored, or if you have a requirement in the military/tactical arena, we are ready to help.

Optical Scientific Inc.

2 Metropolitan Court, Suite 6

Gaithersburg, MD 20878

Tel: +01 301 963 3630

Fax: +01 301 948 4674