EAGER: MEMS Co-Steered Optical and Acoustic Dual Modal Communication and Ranging Devices for Underwater Vehicles
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Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) are very important tools for many applications, including infrastructure inspection and maintenance, search and rescue, environmental monitoring, maritime archaeology, oil drilling and pipeline inspection, and defense. However, a significant and fundamental challenge faced by today?s AUVs is communication and perception in the underwater environment. Traditional devices are bulky and have low spatial resolution in ranging/mapping tasks. Acoustic communication is slow in speed. Laser-based communication can achieve high speed, but requires direct light of sight. Therefore, there is no effective way to tightly coordinate a group of AUVs.The objective of this project is to develop a miniaturized dual-modal Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based Sound Navigation And Ranging (sonar) and Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) combo device, named as oPtical and Acoustic communication and Ranging (PAIR) device. The PAIR device functions as both a dual band network adapter and a combination of sonar and LiDAR but with a much smaller footprint and better signal registration. Enabled by the use of a novel MEMS scanning mirror and ultrasound transducerwith unique mechanical and optical properties previously demonstrated, the PAIR devices can simultaneously transmit and receive both sound and laser signals in a co-centered and co-directional fashion.