GhostSwimmer: Tactically Relevant, Biomimetically Inspired, Silent, Highly Efficient and Maneuverable Autonomous Fish Robot

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N00014-08-M-0294
Agency Tracking Number: N08A-030-0202
Amount: $69,735.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: N08-T030
Solicitation Number: 2008.A
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2008
Award Year: 2008
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2008-06-30
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2009-04-30
Small Business Information
411 Waverley Oaks Road, Suite 114, Waltham, MA, 02452
DUNS: 005313494
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Michael Rufo
 Senior Mechanical Engineer
 (781) 314-0723
 mrufo@boston-engineering.com
Business Contact
 Mark Smithers
Title: COO
Phone: (781) 314-0714
Email: msmithers@boston-engineering.com
Research Institution
 FRANKLIN W. OLIN COLLEGE OF ENGINEE
 David Barrett
 Olin Way
Needham, MA, 2492
 (781) 292-2556
 Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
GhostSwimmer is a tactical, efficient, biomimetic autonomous artificial fish UUV that employs the actual mechanics and dynamics of biological fish to create the ultimate in efficient swimming while remaining responsive to the needs of current covert, riverine, and littoral missions. It endeavors to attack problems facing current UUVs. A product of the combined experience of David Barrett (Olin College), inventor/developer of MIT’s groundbreaking Robo-Tuna, and Michael Rufo (Boston Engineering), inventor/developer of marsupial underwater UUV/Crawler technologies, it mimics the actual motion of a tuna (one of nature’s fastest and most maneuverable fish). This proposal doesn’t represent “another university research program” but endeavors to create a functional fish robot in Phase I that proves its advantages. The program’s focus is to reduce the mechanics of robotic swimming to practice. An important part of GhostSwimmer is its use of fins and their effect on its maneuverability. GhostSwimmer has the ability to adjust its dorsal, pectoral, and caudal fins in concert to provide significant thrust, maneuverability, and propulsive efficiency. This effort develops the integration of artificial muscles for fin and tail actuation. Modularity and use of COTS technology as well as inexpensive prototyping hardware allow GhostSwimmer to be cost effective and inexpensive to upgrade.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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