Research Area 2: Bioprincipic Sensors, Information Processing, and Control

Both biological systems and smart munitions collect information on their own state and from the environment, process that information, and make a decision. In the case of a seeker (eye), the sensor may collect spatial, spectral, temporal, and/or polarization information. The resulting decision may be that of detecting, recognizing, tracking, or intercepting an object. The decision may also be that of changing position or direction of motion for vehicle guidance or navigation or for better viewing of a target. A clear understanding of how the natural systems collect and process information to make these kinds of decisions may lead to revolutionary sensor concepts for autonomous weapons, as well as other machine vision applications. Thus, RW is interested in sensors, information processing, and control methods which leverage understanding of design principles found in biological systems. Our focus in bioprincipics (the discipline of understanding and applying the principles on which biological systems work) is on leveraging efforts previously aimed at understanding how life forms collect and process environmental information. The Government wants to use what is understood about the natural sensors to build small and affordable autonomous munitions sensors. Sensors of interest include electro-optical / infrared (EO/IR), mechanosensors of various types and applications (including acoustic sensors), magnetosensors, and chemosensors. An integrated sensor design includes not only the hardware component, but the “software” or “algorithm” that does the information processing. The Department of Defense is interested in sparse sensing (compressive sensing) concepts, and analog and hybrid processing techniques when they show speed and accuracy advantages over pure digital processing. Proposed concepts should support the mission of the Munitions Directorate and Weapon Engagement Sciences Division.

Keywords: Bioprincipic; Bio-mimetic; Sensors; Mechanosensors; Magnetosensors; Chemosensors; Electro-optical/Infrared (EO/IR).

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