NEWPORT, R.I. — The technical director of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center-Newport Division said that bio-inspired sensing technology studies may eventually have application to man-made systems.
Ronald Vien, a member of the Senior Executive Service, told the August 28th Defense Innovation Days audience that Navy researchers are looking into seal whiskers, which can sense subtle water turbulence, and how thousands of bats flying out of a cave never collide.
“Can we reverse engineer bat sonar to develop a micro-aperture, high-resolution imaging sonar?” Vien asked as he explained the purpose of such studies.
Vien also said a recently signed three-year deal with the Undersea Technology Innovation Consortium could speed the Navy’s acquisition of new technologies and prototypes.
The agreement allows delivery of innovative solutions to warfighters by using Other Transaction Authority, which allows some military contracts to move faster than traditional acquisition agreements.
Vien highlighted the Navy’s work to extend unmanned underwater vehicle endurance by making lithium-ion batteries safe and more efficient. He also pointed to the lab’s development of thermal acoustic transducers using emerging nanotube technologies.
Vien’s talk was hosted by the Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance, which was followed by NUWC-Newport’s 2018 Advanced Naval Technology Exercise.
NUWC-Newport’s mission is to provide research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, undersea offensive, and defensive weapons systems, and countermeasures.
The Navy lab already has dozens of innovative technologies available to businesses for use in new products and services.
TechLink, the Department of Defense’s national partnership intermediary for technology transfer, provides free guidance to businesses interested in licensing technology from military laboratories.
Navy scientists have developed a system which transmits narrowband signals simultaneously (in parallel) with broadband and other signals (even with other narrowband signals). Transmitting a narrowband signal with a broadband signal leads to a comparatively small penalty in decreased bandwidth, but great improvement in Doppler resolution.
Navy research has led to a novel synthetic aperture particle 3-D velocimetry device for imaging fluid flows. The system makes use of a multitude of cameras oriented toward the fluid flow at differing angles.
Naval engineers have developed a launch and recovery system with a capture and swing support for a towed body that accommodates variable freeboard heights. The system is mounted at the aft end of the ship and can trail behind the vessel when deployed.