It’s the likes of science fiction! The Defense Department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is launching the “Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors Program”. The purpose is to gather the responses of living ocean organisms like shellfish to underwater vehicles and send back the information through a hardware network that gathers, interprets and relays the data.
The rationale: use the sea creatures’ response to their environment to better track manned and unmanned vehicles. DARPA researchers intend to use mollusks, crustaceans and certain types of fish as a sensor network to better monitor threats to US naval vehicles.
Living organisms could give researchers a big advantage as they respond and adapt to their environment and according to DARPA they can sense stimuli like optical, chemical, tactile, acoustic and electrical.
DARPA hopes to utilize a wide arrange of native marine organisms without training, housing or modifying them in any way. The hardware system DARPA hopes to create would collect data from a 500 meter distance and avoid disturbing the environment.
Current sensor systems require a wealth of resources and are used only for specific assets such as aircraft carriers. If this research program works, it will significantly expand the government’s ability to track adversaries’ underwater activities on a persistent basis.
For a conversation with DARPA leadership on their breakthrough innovation research, listen to our podcast on our website http://innovation-gamechangers.com or on Stitcher Radio at https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=166467&refid=stpr or on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/innovation-gamechangers-podcasts/id1339206617