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

NASA begins sixth year of airborne Antarctic ice change study

NASA photograph by Michael Studinger NASA’s DC-8 flying laboratory is shown in its parking spot on the ramp at the Aeropuerto Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo in Punta Arenas, Chile, after its transit flight from NASA...
 
 
NASA photograph by Patrick Rogers

Scientific balloon launch highlights NASA exhibit at Balloon Fiesta

NASA photograph by Jay Levine Magdi Said, technology manager for NASA’s Scientific Balloon Program office at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, explains elements of NASA’s use of science balloons.   A live t...
 
 
NASA photograph by John Sonntag

Preparing for Antarctic flights in California desert

NASA photograph by John Sonntag The constellation Ursa Major looms over a GPS-equipped survey vehicle and a ground station to its left at El Mirage Dry Lake. By comparing elevation readings from both GPS sources, researchers ca...
 

 
NASA photograph by Tom Tschida

NASA-pioneered Automatic Ground-Collision Avoidance System operational

NASA photograph by Jim Ross The U.S. Air Force’s F-16D Automatic Collision Avoidance Technology (ACAT) test aircraft banks over NASA’s Dryden (now Armstrong) Flight Research Center during a March 2009 flight.  ...
 
 
USF/WHOI/MBARI/NASA image

U.S. initiates prototype system to gauge national marine biodiversity

USF/WHOI/MBARI/NASA image NASA satellite data of the marine environment will be used in prototype marine biodiversity observation networks to be established in four U.S. locations, including the Florida Keys, pictured here. The...
 
 
NASA photograph by David C. Bowman

NASA helicopter test a smashing success

NASA photograph by David C. Bowman Technicians at NASA Langley pulled a helicopter 30 feet into the air before dropping it to test crashworthy systems.   The successful crash test of a former Marine helicopter could help l...
 




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>