Podcasts | Feb 8, 2018

US Navy’s Polygonal Asymmetric Reflector could help downed aircrews

Podcast episode on Navy research and how businesses can leverage it into new products and services

News Article Image of US Navy’s Polygonal Asymmetric Reflector could help downed aircrews

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Jared Shaker retrieves downed equipment during a TRAP mission on Stone Bay, N.C., January 31, 2018. The purpose of a Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP) is to recover equipment, personnel, repair equipment, or destroy equipment left behind from a down aircraft or ground vehicle. (Angel Travis/USMC)

Two researchers at the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Crane Division have developed a unique way to identify a person, e.g., a downed pilot, when that individual does not have traditional communications systems, like a radio, or cannot use such devices.

The polygonal asymmetric reflector, or PAR, is a geodesic structure that is quickly assembled or inflated. The device has configurable panels that reflect a radio frequency signal emitted by a plane or drone passing overhead. Based on the design of the panels, a unique signature signal is reflected back to the aircraft and compared to a library of stored signals.

In this manner, a search and rescue team can identify who a person is and their location. Additional covering panels allow communication concerning the person’s status such as whether they need immediate extraction, medical support, the presence of unfriendlies in the area or if no assistance is necessary.

Through a patent license agreement with the Navy, the PAR is available to businesses for product development. Interested parties can contact TechLink for more information on forming a partnership with the Navy laboratory that invented the device.

Headshot Image of Sean Patten, CLP

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