19 May 2006 The Jellyfish: smart electro-active polymers for an autonomous distributed sensing node
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The US Navy has recently placed emphasis on deployable, distributed sensors for Force Protection, Anti-Terrorism and Homeland Defense missions. The Naval Undersea Warfare Center has embarked on the development of a self-contained deployable node that is composed of electro-active polymers (EAP) for use in a covert persistent distributed surveillance system. Electro-Active Polymers (EAP) have matured to a level that permits their application in energy harvesting, hydrophones, electro-elastic actuation and electroluminescence. The problem to resolve is combining each of these functions into an autonomous sensing platform. The concept presented here promises an operational life several orders of magnitude beyond what is expected of a Sonobuoy due to energy conservation and harvesting, and at a reasonable cost. The embodiment envisioned is that of a deployed device resembling a jellyfish, made in most part of polymers, with the body encapsulating the necessary electronic processing and communications package and the tentacles of the jellyfish housing the sonar sensors. It will be small, neutrally buoyant, and will survey the water column much in the manner of a Cartesian Diver. By using the Electro-Active Polymers as artificial muscles, the motion of the jellyfish can be finely controlled. An increased range of detection and true node autonomy is achieved through volumetric array beamforming to focus the direction of interrogation and to null-out extraneous ambient noise.
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John B. Blottman, John B. Blottman, Roger T. Richards, Roger T. Richards, "The Jellyfish: smart electro-active polymers for an autonomous distributed sensing node", Proc. SPIE 6231, Unattended Ground, Sea, and Air Sensor Technologies and Applications VIII, 62311E (19 May 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.673124; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.673124

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