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MEDUSAE: Tactically Relevant Jellyfish-Inspired Profiling Float Application in Naval Missions

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N68335-21-C-0359
Agency Tracking Number: N18A-025-0244a
Amount: $1,499,916.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N18A-T025
Solicitation Number: 18.A
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2021-06-21
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-02-28
Small Business Information
300 Bear Hill Rd
Waltham, MA 02451-1111
United States
DUNS: 005313494
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Michael Rufo
 (781) 314-0723
Business Contact
 Mark Smithers
Phone: (781) 314-0714
Research Institution

Oceanographic research and naval operations related thereto require a level of persistence that is unachievable (with reasonable cost) by research vessels. The endless movement of currents, animal lifecycles and migrations, and subsurface terrain changes (seafloor, reefs, etc.) requires monitoring over long durations (perhaps even from months to decades). Some fielded instruments provide this data when they are attached to fixed platforms but are restricted to small sampling areas. Current mobile platforms that provide subsurface oceanographic sensing are expensive; unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) and gliders cost 100’s of thousands of dollars. Dropsondes and other buoys that are passive, distributed, and battery-operated suffer from limited station-keeping capability and endurance. In Phase I, Boston Engineering developed a lightweight, long lasting, jellyfish-inspired float (MEDUSAE) with the possibility of self-recharging to fill this gap for the Navy. MEDUSAE is not only feasible but highly valuable, low cost, and could be aligned to future demonstrations. To ensure the success of MEDUSAE, Boston Engineering has rapidly conducted in-lab feasibility tests for different propulsion and actuations methods, including the use of artificial muscles.  These tests have shown feasibility in producing the thrust required to carry tactically relevant payloads to complete multiple oceanographic missions. Boston Engineering Corporation has leveraged its prior technology from its MASED dropsonde and its bio-inspired GhostSwimmer autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) and leveraged a team of experts in biology, bio-inspired vehicles, oceanographic data collection, and subsea systems. Phase II focused on the mechanics and robustness of swimming. The Phase II Option focused on the power system, communications, and oceanographic sensors.  This effort, the Subsequent Phase II, is focused on MEDUSAE deployment from AUVs, the potential for subsea communications, and inter-MEDUSAE coordination.

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

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