Friday, March 2, 2018

DARPA Wants to Turn Fish into Spies

From Joseph Trevithick's 2-28-18 The Drive article entitled "DARPA Wants to Use Fish and Other Sea Life to Track Enemy Submarines":

"The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the U.S. military’s top research arm, is looking into whether it might be possible to exploit fish, shellfish, and other marine organisms as unwitting sensors to spot and track submarines and other underwater threats. The idea is create a low cost means of persistently monitoring naval activity beneath the waves across a wide area, but it could be hard to get the sea life to reliably perform their new jobs as discreet undersea spies. 
"DARPA first announced this project, which it calls the Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors, or PALS, earlier in February 2018. The month before it had unveiled a broader concept for an 'Ocean of Things,' which would also incorporate a large number of small, low cost, and environmentally friendly sensor nodes, either on the sea bed or floating up above, to monitor ship and submarine movements, as well as gather data about changing environmental conditions and other scientific information.
"'The U.S. Navy’s current approach to detecting and monitoring underwater vehicles is hardware-centric and resource intensive,' Lori Adornato, the PALS program manager, said in an official statement. 'If we can tap into the innate sensing capabilities of living organisms that are ubiquitous in the oceans, we can extend our ability to track adversary activity and do so discreetly, on a persistent basis, and with enough precision to characterize the size and type of adversary vehicles.'
"At the most basic level, DARPA envisions developing a system that records marine animal activity, or the sounds they produce, and decodes that data to determine whether they’re just swimming along as normal or dodging an enemy submarine. This would not require actually implanting or otherwise 'modifying' any fish or crustaceans.
"'Our ideal scenario for PALS is to leverage a wide range of native marine organisms, with no need to train, house, or modify them in any way, which would open up this type of sensing to many locations,' Adornato added. DARPA notes that marine animals are otherwise already equipped, thanks to millions of years of evolution, to have the 'equipment' necessary to monitor their own environment. Beyond just being able to see, touch, and hear potential prey or threats, they can often detect more subtle electro-magnetic and chemical changes to their surroundings.
"This could all make the system more cost effective, since the U.S. military would only need to establish a network to collect the relevant information, categorize it, and transmit it onward to wherever it might need to go. DARPA’s goal is for each of those nodes to be able to monitor fish and other sea life more than 500 yards away and to be able to reliably discern between routine and abnormal movements and sounds."
To read the rest of Trevithick's article, click HERE.

No comments:

Post a Comment