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Thursday, November 05, 2020

Battery Free Ocean Exploration?

Towards automation and empowering sensors in varying environments.  Piezoelectronics always an interest too.

An Underwater Navigation System Powered by Sound,  MIT News, Daniel Ackerman

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers built a battery-free underwater navigation system that reflects modulated signals from its environment in order to provide positioning information without expending energy. Underwater Backscatter Localization (UBL) employs piezoelectric sensors that produce their own electricity in response to mechanical stress, and use that power to selectively reflect soundwaves. A receiver translates the backscatter sequence into a pattern of 1s and 0s that conveys information about ocean temperature or salinity. To overcome the problem of myriad surface and seabed reflections complicating localization, the observation unit transmits a signal sequence across a range of frequencies, each at a different wavelength; the reflected sound waves return to the unit in different phases, with combined timing and phase data pinpointing distances to the tracking device. MIT’s Fadel Adib said, “We’re hoping to understand the ocean at scale. It’s a long-term vision, but that’s what we’re working toward and what we’re excited about.”

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