PFI:AIR - TT: A Novel Vector Acoustic Communication Technology for High Speed Underwater Modems

Project: Research project

Project Details


This PFI: AIR Technology Translation project focuses on translating novel vector acoustic underwater communication research findings to fill the need for high speed communication in oceans and other underwater environments. Three quarters of the earth surface is covered with water that overlays many resources upon which our lives depend. High speed wireless underwater data communication among underwater sensors, deepwater instruments and autonomous underwater vehicles is of high importance in many applications of national interest, such as environmental ocean monitoring to predict natural disasters such as hurricanes, and offshore oil and gas drilling. However, underwater channels are highly bandlimited and the data rates of existing modems are much smaller than what is needed for effective communication and management. The project will result in a prototype underwater modem that benefits from novel vector acoustic underwater communication concepts and methods. This underwater vector modem has the unique feature of utilizing acoustic particle velocity channels for data communication, in addition to the conventional acoustic pressure channel. This feature provides the following advantages: increased data rate, improved performance, and small size modems, when compared to the leading competing underwater modems in this market space.This project addresses a number of technology gaps as it translates from research discovery toward commercial application. In the new vector acoustic and particle velocity communication paradigm, the underwater modem designer is facing new communication channels and transducers that are fundamentally different from those used in the past. Therefore, proper designs for different parts of the modem, including transducers and analog and digital transceivers will be developed. Analog electronics are supposed to interface with multi-channel transducers, whereas digital signal processing units are required to generate and demodulate multiple data streams. The personnel involved in this project, graduate and undergraduate students, will receive innovation, entrepreneurship and technology translation experiences through working at the interface of multiple disciplines such as electro-acoustic transducers, underwater acoustics, communication and signal processing hardware/software, as well as participating in an intensive boot-camp on technology entrepreneurship.The project engages Teledyne-Benthos and Kongsberg, two leading companies whose underwater modems and autonomous underwater vehicles are sold worldwide, to assist in at-sea testing of the prototype modem developed in this technology translation effort from research discovery toward commercial reality. Development of the vector acoustic high speed modem prototype will eventually allow the growth of many underwater systems and businesses whose operations have been constrained by low wireless data rates or very expensive undersea cables.
Effective start/end date8/15/15 → 4/30/22


  • National Science Foundation: $199,985.00


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