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— Marine

Latest deep ocean shipwreck discoveries have a silver lining

Ocean exploration has always been salted with the allure of sunken treasure, and with precious metal prices hitting new records and new technologies allowing access to deeper sites, that Siren's call has never been greater. Recently, a team of Odyssey Marine Exploration (OME) technicians and archeologists announced finding not one, but two British shipwrecks off Ireland, the SS Gairsoppa and the SS Mantola. Only 100 miles and a World War apart, the two hulks rusting away in the deep Atlantic collectively contain what could prove to be millions of ounces of silver. Read More
— Wearable Electronics

Tacit: Wrist-mounted sonar for the visually impaired

We’ve seen a number of devices - such as the UltraCane and EYE 21 system - that combine sonar and haptic or audio feedback to let the visually impaired “see” their surroundings through the senses of touch or hearing. Tacit is a similar device that also uses sonar to measure the distance to objects and provide users with a ‘view” of their surroundings through haptic feedback. But unlike previous devices we’ve looked at, Tacit is mounted on the wrist so it doesn’t impair a user’s hearing or interfere with the use of other assistance devices such as canes. Read More
— Medical

Virtual Cane - using sonar to help the visually impaired 'see'

We've seen a number of prototype and concept devices aimed at upgrading or even replacing the low-tech white cane and this latest example from Hebrew University - the Virtual Cane - appears close to becoming a commercial product. Virtual Cane is a handheld device that uses a type of sonar to recognize physical objects up to 10 m (39 ft) from the user. It emits invisible focused beams towards objects it is pointed at and determines how far away they are. The information is then relayed to the user via a series of vibrations which vary in intensity depending on the distance. Read More
— Medical

Head-worn device uses sonar to rapidly diagnose stroke

A team of radiologists and retired US Navy sonar experts have used technology developed for submarines as the basis for a new device which offers quick detection, diagnosis and monitoring of stroke. Combined with a portable laptop based console, the head-worn device enables different types of stroke and brain injury to be discovered and located, differentiating normal blood flow from life threatening conditions and delivering an initial diagnosis in under a couple of minutes. Read More
— Computers

Keyboard that uses sonar to protect sensitive data

While the simple act of logging off a workstation is an obvious way to protect sensitive data – like that used by healthcare providers, pharmacies, banks and government agencies – it is all too easy for users to forget and leave the data not only viewable, but also editable by anyone who happens to pass by. Custom keyboard supplier Key Source International (KSI) has developed a keyboard that does the remembering for you, logging out as soon as the user physically leaves the keyboard. Read More
— Electronics

Dolphins inspire a better kind of sonar

By measuring the differences between emitted sound pulses and their echoes sonar is able to detect and identify targets such as reefs, wrecks, submarines and fish shoals. However, standard sonar has limitations in shallow water because bubble clouds, which result from breaking waves or other causes, can scatter sound and clutter the sonar image. Inspired by the exceptional sonar capabilities of dolphins, scientists have now developed a new underwater device that can outperform standard sonar and detect objects through bubble clouds. Read More
— Military

Britain's most advanced attack sub ever on sea trials

Known as Turtle, the world's first military submarine appeared during the American War of Independence. It was 10 feet long, constructed of two wooden shells covered with tar, propelled by a one-person crew using hand-cranked propellers, had enough air for a 30 minute dive and its weapons were a drill, a keg of gunpowder and a time fuse. Fast forward 230-odd years to the British Navy's Astute class submarine, which is currently undergoing sea trials, and you get a very different picture. Made up of a million individual components and capable of carrying 93 crew and an array of weapons including Tomahawk cruise missiles, the nuclear-powered Astute class is 97m long, weighs 7,800 tons, is coated in 39,000 sonar masking acoustic tiles and doesn't need refueling throughout its expected 25 year service life. Read More
— Science

Metamaterials could create sonar-invisible vessels

June 16, 2008 Research into the cloaking properties of “left handed” metamaterials is continuing, with the latest news coming from scientists at the Polytechnic University of Valencia who have proven that these man-made substance can make objects impervious to sound waves. A proposed "acoustic cloak" would use sonic crystals, a class of metamaterial, to bend sound waves around an object, and could be used to render vessels Sonar-invisible... perhaps even bring to life that staple of spy technology: the Cone of Silence. Read More