Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Sea-Air Communication

PostedAugust 31, 2018

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Lede: Researchers have, for the first time, demonstrated a technique that could allow direct wireless communication between devices in the deep sea and the air above.

Randy Atkins: Wireless signals have preferred modes of travel. For example, sonar flows through water and radar glides through air…but not the other way around. So Fadel Adib, at M-I-T’s Media Lab, is combining them. First he sends sonar signals from underwater…

Fadel Adib: …and when they hit the surface, they cause a very, very tiny vibration.

Randy Atkins: Adid says the resulting ripples can actually be detected, even in a churning ocean, by using techniques that…

Fadel Adib: …can filter out the naturally occurring surface waves and eliminate them, and then zoom in on the signals that are the vibrations that are coming from underwater.

Randy Atkins: Radar from aircraft above can be reflected off those ripples and the signal read. Applications included submarine to airplane communication, locating wreckage, and monitoring marine life. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.