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.


 
 

 
NASA photograph by David Alexander

NASA MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft completes visual, radar mission in Hawaii

NASA photograph “Ikhana,” NASA’s MQ-9 remotely piloted research aircraft, carries a maritime radar in a specialized centerline pod during a flight to check out systems prior to the aircraft’s deployment ...
 
 
NASA photograph by Tom Tschida

NASA Armstrong’s space shuttle Mate-Demate Device coming down

NASA photograph by Tom Tschida The space shuttle Mate-Demate Device that stood as an iconic symbol of NASA’s now-concluded Space Shuttle Program at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center for 38 years is being dismantled af...
 
 

NASA awards research facilities, engineering support services contract

NASA has awarded a contract for research facilities and engineering support services to InuTeq, LLC of Greenbelt, Maryland, in support of the Mission Information and Test Systems Directorate at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif. This cost-plus-award-fee contract covers a one-year base period beginning Nov. 1, 2014 and four one-year options, and is valued...
 

 

NASA picks top Earth data challenge ideas, opens call for climate apps

NASA has selected four ideas from the public for innovative uses of climate projections and Earth-observing satellite data. The agency also has announced a follow-on challenge with awards of $50,000 to build climate applications based on OpenNEX data on the Amazon cloud computing platform. Both challenges use the Open NASA Earth Exchange, or OpenNEX, a...
 
 
nasa-flying-lab

NASA’s flying laboratories study our world

Throughout the remainder of 2014, NASA is flying a series of airborne research campaigns from the North Pole to the South Pole and many points in between ñ to take a closer look at U.S. air quality, hurricanes in the Atlantic ...
 
 

NASA selects proposals to increase STEM education at community, technical colleges

NASA’s Office of Education will award more than $17.3 million through the National Space Grant and Fellowship Program to increase student and faculty engagement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at community colleges and technical schools across the United States. Each award has a two-year performance period and a maximum value of $500,000. The 35...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>