Publication Detail

Development and testing of bio-inspired MEMS pressure sensor arrays for increased situational awareness by marine vehicles

J. Dusek, A. G. P. Kottapalli, M. E. Woo, M. E. Asadnia, J. Miao, Jeffrey H. Lang, Michael Triantafyllou
14 pp.
MITSG 13-03
$5.50 DOM / $7.50 INT
URL: doi:10.1088/0964-1726/22/1/014002

The lateral line found on most species of fish is a sensory organ without analog in humans. Using sensory feedback from the lateral line, fish are able to track prey, school, avoid obstacles, and detect vortical flow structures. Composed of both a superficial component, and a component contained within canals beneath the fish’s skin, the lateral line acts in a similar fashion to an array of differential pressure sensors. In an effort to enhance the situational and environmental awareness of marine vehicles, lateral-line-inspired pressure sensor arrays were developed to mimic the enhanced sensory capabilities observed in fish.
Three flexible and waterproof pressure sensor arrays were fabricated for use as a surface-mounted ‘smart skin’ on marine vehicles. Two of the sensor arrays were based around the use of commercially available piezoresistive sensor dies, with innovative packaging schemes to allow for flexibility and underwater operation. The sensor arrays employed liquid crystal polymer and flexible printed circuit board substrates with metallic circuits and silicone encapsulation. The third sensor array employed a novel nanocomposite material set that allowed for the fabrication of a completely flexible sensor array. All three sensors were surface mounted on the curved hull of an autonomous kayak vehicle, and tested in both pool and reservoir environments. Results demonstrated that all three sensors were operational while deployed on the autonomous vehicle, and provided an accurate means for monitoring the vehicle dynamics.

type: Journal, book, proceeding reprints

Parent Project

Project No.: 2006-R/RT-2/RCM-17
Title: Touch-at-a-Distance: Pressure Microsensor Arrays for AUV Navigation