Principal Investigator: George Malby
Co-investigators: Gary Thurmond, Gene Massion, Hans Jannasch
This project includes two sub-projects that, if successful, will enhance MBARI's abilities to operate and make measurements in the deep ocean. They are:
P8B Spread-spectrum navigation and communicationTwo advanced communications techniques used by state-of-the-art communications equipment, from cellular telephones to terrestrial and space navigation systems, are spread-spectrum signaling and optimal estimation. For various reasons, commercial underwater systems have not been developed that take advantage of the inherent accuracy, range, and data telemetry features of these techniques. In this project institute engineers will define specifications for a system that applies these techniques to ROV navigation and underwater communication, and they will design an analytical model to optimize the design of the system and predict its performance. A demonstration system will then be assembled, integrating commercially available components with tools and capabilities already in place at the institute. The majority of the effort will be in developing the necessary operational algorithms. MBARI is negotiating a cooperative agreement with a leading vendor of ultra-short baseline underwater tracking equipment, to set up an exchange of technology information intended to advance the development.
The end product of all these efforts will be an advanced ultra-short baseline tracking system for the ROV Tiburon that incorporates spread-spectrum signaling and optimal estimation. The system proposed will provide higher accuracy at all depths than systems currently in use. It will extend the measurement working range beyond the current 2,000-meter limit, diminish noise interference in the highly reverberant canyon environment, and provide reliable acoustic telemetry capability for data handling and emergency control. In addition, techniques developed in this project will supply fundamental technology which can be applied to improving instrumentation for marine geodetics, acoustic data telemetry, and long baseline precision underwater navigation.
P8D Solid-state analyzersAs research at MBARI and other institutions has shown, studies of underwater processes benefit immensely from the ability to monitor water properties remotely, in real time, with in situ chemical sensors. To extend this capacity, increase the speed of sensor response, and carry out more complex chemical analyses, institute researchers are working on a miniature liquid-analysis system that would use silicon microchips. Silicon-based analyzers are relatively simple to manufacture and would thus be cost-effective in the long run. And, such analyzers will have broad applications in underwater chemical mapping, location of chemical sources, and other investigations of biogeochemical processes. With solid-state analyzers, valves for the release of liquids (chemical reagents) are electrically controlled, as directed by computer software. This allows for more "intelligent" sampling than in fluid handling systems currently in use, such as MBARIs OsmoAnalyzers. For example, solid-state analyzers installed on moorings could be programmed to automatically alter their sampling sequence if certain circumstances change. Also, developing a generic analyzer will provide the flexibility to adapt to many sampling chemistries.
MBARI scientists and collaborators are making and testing chips for a second-generation analyzer. They hope to have a working prototype by the end of 1998.
Next: ROV infrastructure
Last updated: 07 October 2004