Tech

May 8, 2013

NAWCAD scientists forge new path for underwater optics

Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division engineer Dr. Linda Mullen demonstrates a laser used in underwater optics at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., March 6. Mullen patented a new encoding method for laser imaging, which offers possibilities for both fleet and commercial use.

Scientists from the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division) recently brought to light a new approach for underwater optics that could enhance fleet activities, such as detecting underwater mines and seafloor mapping.

NAWCAD engineers Linda Mullen and Alan Laux invented a method to encode a laser with a radar signal to improve the performance of underwater imaging systems in murky water.

We program the laser with information about how the laser is scanning the object,î Mullen said of the project, which was developed two years ago and patented in February. Therefore, the light reflecting off the object and the surrounding environment contains all the information needed to accurately create an image.

A typical underwater laser imaging system has the transmitter and receiver on the same platform. Mullen and Laux tailored their imaging system by placing the transmitter and receiver on separate platforms. The remote receiver wirelessly collects the radar-encoded laser light from the transmitter and translates the information, while an image processor turns the digitized signal into an image.

“It’s a new way of thinking about things, Mullen said. ìIn acoustics and radar, theyíve been doing these kinds of approaches for a long time. This is very new for optics.

Their method allows for better image quality and larger operating ranges than traditional underwater optical imaging systems. With the separate platform approach, the receiver can potentially be airborne, shipboard or on another underwater stand ó a first for optics imaging. It also makes it possible to use a smaller platform, which allows the light source to get closer to the object in question without stirring up as much sediment.

Less sediment means better visibility, an important factor in activities such as minesweeping, which depends on the ability to detect mines without inadvertently triggering them.

Commercial uses for the technology exist as well. During one recent test, Maryland law enforcement officials expressed interest in using the technology to help with search and recovery efforts. Underwater laser imaging has the advantage of approaching objects from a single direction and has fewer limitations in shallow water than traditional sonar.

There are scenarios when you have to start thinking out of the box,î Mullen said. Otherwise, you are going to be limited. You wonít be able to get to see what you want to see.

NAWCAD is actively pursuing industry partners to assist in the commercialization of this technology. Call the NAWCAD Technology Transfer Office at (301) 342-1133 to discuss opportunities to collaborate or license the technology.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 31, 2015

News: Carter: Military leaders could arm more troops at home – Following the recent fatal shooting of four Marines and a sailor in Tennessee, Defense Secretary Ash Carter is ordering the military services to consider new policies that would enhance security for troops at home, including potentially arming more personnel.   Business: DOD weighs supplier base,...
 
 

News Briefs July 31, 2015

U.S. delivering eight newer F-16 warplanes to Egypt The United States Embassy in Cairo says the U.S. is delivering eight newer F-16 warplanes to Egypt as part of an ongoing military support package. It says in a July 30 statement that the aircraft, of the current Block 52 production variant, will be flown in from...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Lockheed Martin successfully tests design changes for Orion spacecraft’s fairing separation system

Lockheed Martin photograph A protective panel for Orion’s service module is jettisoned during testing at Lockheed Martin’s Sunnyvale, California facility. This test series evaluated design changes to the spacecraft’s fair...
 

 

Australian company to provide parts for initial production of Triton UAS

Northrop Grumman has awarded the first Australian supplier contract for the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system initial production lot to Ferra Engineering. Brisbane-based Ferra Engineering will manufacture mechanical sub-assemblies for the first four Triton air vehicles including structural components. “At Northrop Grumman it’s very important to not only develop...
 
 
Boeing photograph

CH-46 ‘Phrog’ makes its last hop

Boeing photograph The CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter commonly known as the “Phrog,” is set to retire and to be flown one last time by Reserve Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 774 on Aug. 1. The CH-46 Sea Knight is a med...
 
 

Insitu awarded LRIP Lot IV RQ-21A Blackjack Systems contract

Under the terms of its latest contract, Insitu will build six RQ-21A Blackjack systems for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The $78-million Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems Lot IV Low Rate Initial Production contract is the latest event in the program’s progression toward the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation phase.   “This award will...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>