Hydrophone Array System for Real-Time Oceanic Acoustic Monitoring
ECE Professor Purnima Ratilal-Makris was awarded a $1.28M NSF grant for “Large-aperture 160-element coherent hydrophone array system upgrades and operational readiness testing for real-time continental-shelf scale ocean acoustic monitoring.” The research on the array system will be conducted in her Laboratory for Ocean Acoustics and Ecosystem Sensing.
A large-aperture coherent hydrophone array system provides a transformative approach for sensing vast areas of the ocean. Sounds uttered or emitted by ocean entities can be beamformed with a coherent hydrophone array to provide signal-bearing or direction with high accuracy, signal-to-noise ratio enhancement that increases detection ranges to span continental-shelf scales, as well as localization and geographic mapping of repetitive sound producers from their bearing-time trajectories. The Passive Ocean Acoustic Waveguide Remote Sensing (POAWRS) technology, comprising of a large-aperture coherent hydrophone array hardware and real-time data processing and analysis software, including automatic signal detection, classification, and localization, enables ocean discoveries to be made right at sea, with real-time feedback that allows the data collection procedure to be adapted and optimized on-the-fly. A towed large-aperture 160-element coherent hydrophone array system implementing the POAWRS approach was previously developed in-house at Northeastern University. The objectives of the current proposal are to conduct (i) mechanical upgrades to the array subapertures, (ii) develop, enhance and optimize POAWRS real-time processing and analysis software for array data sampled at high frequencies of 100 kHz per element, including computational and archival hardware, and (iii) sea tests to verify system upgrades and overall system operational readiness to support future ocean scientific research and studies.