Underwater Optical Communication System

Technology #15724

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FIG. 1A is an elevation view of an embodiment of an underwater optical communication system with a tethered optical receiver.FIG. 1B is an elevation view of an embodiment of an underwater optical communication system with a mobile optical receiver.FIG. 1C is an elevation view of an embodiment of an underwater optical communication system used with divers.FIG. 3 is flowchart representation of optical transmission.
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Inventors
Marek Doniec
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT
External Link (wireless.csail.mit.edu)
Daniela Rus
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT
External Link (wireless.csail.mit.edu)
Managed By
Daniel Dardani
MIT Technology Licensing Officer
Patent Protection

Underwater optical communication system

US Patent 9,031,413
Publications
An End-to-End Signal Strength Model for Underwater Optical Communication
Journal of Ocean Engineering, 2012
Using Optical Communication for Remote Underwater Robot Operation
Proceedings of 2010 IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2010), October 2010
Autonomous, Localization-Free Underwater Data Muling using Acoustic and Optical Communication
Proceedings of 2012 International Symposium on Experimental Robotics (ISER 2012), June 2012

Applications

  • Underwater exploration
  • Underwater disaster relief
  • Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs)  for oil rigs
  • Monitoring ocean life 

Problems Addressed

About 70% of the earth is covered in water yet most of the ocean remains unexplored. Currently ocean exploration relies on tethered vehicles to transmit high bandwidth data which restricts mobility and limits the depth that the vehicle can explore. Acoustic communication enables researchers to transmit data wirelessly, but it is limited by low bandwidth and high latency due to the speed of sound. The use of acoustic communication to transmit high quality video over a significant distance is currently not available.

Technology

This invention allows for remote operation of the vehicle with high bandwidth transmission and low latency. This invention specifically  discloses a method that allows for high bandwidth and low latency transmission of data in noisy underwater environments. In trials, high quality video was delivered with 98 % success rate at 25 yards and within acceptable quality at 40 yards. Latencies  were measured around 100 milliseconds, thus enabling  telemetry between the UUV and its sensors.

Advantages 

  • Allows for remote operation of UUVs
  • Allows for vehicle operation without a tether 
  • Allows for high bandwidth transmission with low latency 
  • Allows for transmission of video with low latency