Wide-area advanced synthetic skin with enhanced sensory perception for low-visibility undersea environments

Physical Sciences Inc, in collaboration with Michigan State University (MSU), has been awarded a research program from the Naval Air Warfare Center to design, fabricate and evaluate a wide-area synthetic skin device to enable tactile sensing of various shaped objects placed in low-visibility undersea environments.

PSI will implement a multi-angular spatial sensing capability to identify patterns and 3D objects. This will be possible through the use of a machine learning architecture embedded into the device. The synthetic skin measuring system, with incorporated machine learning perception, has the potential to significantly increase the effectiveness of underwater operations.

The underwater advanced synthetic skin-based device will provide a platform to operate Underwater Vehicles (UV) based on tactile sensing in harsh undersea environments. This device will help address a range of applications including exploring and servicing undersea equipment such as working under a pier or on shipwrecks and navigating through underwater caves, especially areas of low-visibility turbid media in deep-sea environments. This 3D tactile sensing capability will also enable remote operations for real-time prediction of objects around and those being operated on. Future extension of the technology towards biomedical engineering will create opportunities in robotic surgery and the creation of advanced prosthetic limbs.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Nicusor Iftimia
Area Manager, Biomedical Optics Technology
Physical Sciences Inc.
Telephone: (978) 689-0003