SITIS Archives - Topic Details
Program:  SBIR
Topic Num:  N07-024 (Navy)
Title:  Interactive Marine Mammal Communications
Research & Technical Areas:  Air Platform, Sensors, Battlespace

Acquisition Program:  PMA-264 - Marine Mammal Mitigation Program
 RESTRICTION ON PERFORMANCE BY FOREIGN CITIZENS (i.e., those holding non-U.S. Passports): This topic is “ITAR Restricted”. The information and materials provided pursuant to or resulting from this topic are restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120 - 130, which control the export of defense-related material and services, including the export of sensitive technical data. Foreign Citizens may perform work under an award resulting from this topic only if they hold the “Permanent Resident Card”, or are designated as “Protected Individuals” as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). If a proposal for this topic contains participation by a foreign citizen who is not in one of the above two categories, the proposal will be rejected.
  Objective:  Develop an eco-friendly method for alerting whales to leave an area so that Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) training exercises may be conducted without harming the whales.
  Description:  The Navy is currently severely constrained in its ability to use active sonar systems during ASW training exercises, due to the potential harmful effects these systems could have on the whales in the test range. Innovative acoustic techniques that would alert the whales to leave a test area are being sought. Options may include analyzing the spectrum of various whale songs to determine the frequencies and decibel levels that are used by the whales, as well as the rough meaning of the various songs. Beluga whales of Alaska and Canada are likely to be selected as these mammals use that portion of the sound spectrum that most closely resembles the spectrum used by humans. The proposed system should be able to receive sound from the whales, process and analyze the sound, transmit sounds back to the whales and process and analyze the response. The ability to easily clear a test range of whales will dramatically improve the Navy’s anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training opportunities.

  PHASE I: Determine the feasibility of developing new acoustic techniques to alert whales to leave an area and demonstrate proof of concept.
  PHASE II: Develop a prototype under water sound transmission/reception system that can be used to effectively communicate with a selected group of whales of Alaska or Canada, with predictable results.

  PHASE III: Demonstrate that the underwater sound transmission/reception system developed in Phase II can be used to clear a test area of whales, without harming them, so that ASW training exercises can be performed. PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/

  DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Academia and companies engaged in commercial undersea exploration would be well served by this technology.

  References:  1. http://www.interspecies.com/pages/beluga%20game.html (Jim Nollman, Interspecies.com) 2. http://csiwhalesalive.org/csi03303.html (William Rossiter, Cetacean Society International)

Keywords:  Marine; Mammals; Communications; Interactive; Beluga; Research

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