Weekly Tech Roundup | Nov 30, 2018

Weekly tech roundup: networked diving buoy, high-performance TCP (and more)

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If none of this week’s featured Navy technologies interest you, we have a wide variety of options. Click through to the patent database and try a keyword search or browse by your interest category.

Here is the roundup:

Networked diving buoy

Navy scientists have developed a better solution for communication between a diver and the surface. The system includes a surface buoy with a wireless connection to a terrestrial or ship-based network.

Current methods used by underwater workers to communicate with those above in order to request tools and supplies, consult, or report status include the use of terrestrial devices and cables encased in shrink wrap.

Waterproofing cables by using heat shrink is not an effective means to prevent water intrusion long term. Heat shrink makes the cables unable to bend and flex, which is necessary for a dynamic environment such as the ocean. Cables used to try to enable devices to work underwater are used to dive once, but then the cable must be dried sometimes for days before being used again.

Learn more about the Navy's solution:

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News Article Image of Weekly tech roundup: networked diving buoy, high-performance TCP (and more)

High-performance TCP (two panels on right) shows significant improvement in corrosion pitting resistance compared to standard TCP (two panels on left) after 4 weeks of exposure to ASTM B117 on 2024-T3 aluminum.

High-performance TCP

The Navy has developed and filed a patent application on a new TCP (trivalent chromium pre-treatment) composition and process that enables 50% greater salt fog resistance and broader applications with greater consistency—including 2xxx series alloys for aerospace applications under MIL-DTL-81706—as compared to the Navy’s original TCP.

High-performance TCP has been demonstrated at the 2-liter scale for unpainted (bare) corrosion resistance. Paint adhesion and painted corrosion testing are planned with the ability to scale up to larger volumes, likely 10 gallons. Further field testing, scale-up, and optimization work are needed for commercial use.

Learn more about the Navy's technology:

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High-speed, high-dynamic range video system

One of the challenges high-speed digital camera manufacturers face is a limited dynamic range.

Navy researchers have developed a cascade imaging system with commercially available parts to capture full scene radiance information and video. The system has been demonstrated to capture a scene in excess of 160 dB or 27-stops dynamic range, limited only by the parts that were readily available.

This method has been used to capture explosive detonations without the typical oversaturation that occur in close proximity to flash as well as the optical enhancement of events occurring in low-light surroundings.

Learn more about the Navy's system:

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Point-of-use design & fabrication of printed circuit boards

A Navy engineer has invented a process to design and build printed circuit boards (PCBs) at their point of use using 3D printing.

This novel process for the production of PCBs via a mobile, 3D printing platform allows for the integration of holes, pads, and other structures in the printed substrate. Once printed, the board is coated with a conductive layer and pressed (mechanical or vapor pressure) into voids. After that, the board is baked to the point of paste hardening. From there, holes can be drilled for conductive paths and components installed.

Using this system, PCBs can be produced on temporary or mobile locations, such as ships, land vehicles, construction sites, spacecraft, underwater facilities, ocean oil wells, or Antarctic locations.

Learn more about the Navy's process:

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Micro-fabricated diffractive optical elements

Navy researchers have improved upon the gray-tone lithography technique to fabricate diffractive optical elements (DOEs). A stack of bi-layers is deposited on a substrate. Each bi-layer includes an etch stop layer and a bulk layer with respective indices of refraction that approximate each other. A 3-D photoresist structure is formed by using gray-tone lithography as plasma is etched (reactive ion etching) into the bi-layer stack, thereby generating at least one plasma-etched bi-layer stack.

DOEs are used in many applications, such as optical storage devices, sensing, and communications. A DOE serves to wave-shape incoming light. Whereas standard refractive optical elements, such as mirrors and lenses, are often bulky, expensive and limited to a specific use, DOEs are generally light-weight, compact, easily replicated, and can modulate complicated wavefronts.

Learn more about the Navy's invention:

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Headshot Image of Austin Leach, PhD, CLP

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