Cocktail Sauce

DARPA Wants to Use Noisy Shrimp to Detect Enemy Subs

Underwater white noise could serve as natural sonar.

3. 25. 19 by Dan Robitzski
TheDigitalArtist via Pixabay/Victor Tangermann
Image by TheDigitalArtist via Pixabay/Victor Tangermann

Underwater Spies

As Russia, China, and the United States race to build undetectable submarines or underwater drones, scientists are recruiting some unlikely help to keep up.

A DARPA-funded program called Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors — adorably abbreviated to “PALS” — is developing a way to use the endless bubbling, snapping, and clicking of underwater shrimp as a sort of ubiquitous sonar, according to Discover Magazine, which talked to Alison Laferriere, the project leader who works at defense contractor Raytheon BBN Technologies.

“The idea is that the sounds that the shrimp create would travel to the object, reflect off of it and we would be able to detect it at our sensors,” she told Discover.

Long Tail

Snapping shrimp can shut their claws so fast that it gives off a 190-decibel noise. Because the shrimp are so common, their snapping fills coastal areas with a sort of underwater white noise that could be used to spot enemy submarines or drones — or at least that’s DARPA’s idea.

Advertisement

“What we’re interested in, specifically, is monitoring the soundscape and determining if there’s a change in the soundscape in some way when an underwater vehicle passes through,” Laferriere said.

Jumbo Shrimp

Monitoring that underwater soundscape would only require that the military install listening devices — because the shrimp and other animals are making the noise, there’s no need to install a prohibitively-expensive network of sonar-generating devices as well, Discover reports

Of course, Laferriere’s team doesn’t yet know what a military drone would look like to a sonar detector — she’s still working in a lab setting with tanks of snapping shrimp. But if all goes well, PALS will travel to the Virgin Islands to start recording and analyzing oceanic noise later this year.

READ MORE: DARPA’s Newest Drone Submarine Detection Device: Snapping Shrimp [Discover Magazine]

Advertisement

More on sonar: Underwater and Airborne Craft Can Now Communicate Directly and Wirelessly


As a Futurism reader, we invite you join the Singularity Global Community, our parent company’s forum to discuss futuristic science & technology with like-minded people from all over the world. It’s free to join, sign up now!

Share This Article

Keep up.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter to keep in touch with the subjects shaping our future.
I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its User Agreement and Privacy Policy

Advertisement

Copyright ©, Singularity Education Group All Rights Reserved. See our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Futurism. Fonts by Typekit and Monotype.