Fish Provide Clues To Underwater Detection Issues

By Eric Beidel
The next generation of underwater sensors may be designed to hear like fish.

The Atlantic bluefin tuna, for example, can swim 30 mph for extended periods but has a limited number of hearing organs. The Navy wants to know if tuna can still hear acoustic signals and pinpoint their direction over noise caused by the rush of water against their bodies.

The knowledge could lead to smaller and less expensive sensor arrays for the Navy, said program manager Michael Traweek.

The Office of Naval Research and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency have developed single-crystal materials to create highly sensitive, compact sensors. However, these devices are compromised by vibrational noise caused by water flow, Traweek said.

At its recent science and technology conference, ONR called upon industry for validation that fish could point the way forward for underwater sensors. The Navy received six white papers on the topic. The submissions are being reviewed as part of an annual challenge competition.
Selected proposals will receive funding in the spring.

Topics: Science and Engineering Technology

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