Biomimetic Maneuverable EAP Anti-Submarine Sensor
Small Business Information
303 Bear Hill Road, Waltham, MA, 02451
AbstractIn order to address the U.S. Navy's need for improved tools for use in Anti-Submarine Warfare IST is proposing to develop an advanced acoustic sensing system consisting of networked smart sensor nodes. Each of these sensor nodes will be mobile and able to communicate with nearby sensors to form a reconfigurable network. Sensor mobility will be accomplished using electroactive polymer (EAP) fins located on the sensor's hull. This biomimetic configuration will closely resemble that of the cuttlefish, an animal in the cephalopod order. Slight rippling of these laterally fringing fins along with buoyancy control will provide a dynamic lift that can quickly move the sensor from passive suspension to active propulsion. These sensor nodes will also be able to operate for extended periods by utilizing ocean currents and waves as an energy source from which electrical power can be continuously harvested. This approach will utilize long tentacle-like rolls of EAP material attached to the underside of the sensor hull. When strained these EAP "tentacles" will produce an electric current that can be used to harvest energy from movements occurring in the ocean environment such as currents, waves, and pressure differentials.
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