DARPA to Use Shrimp, Plankton to Detect Undersea Threats.

Author:Mayfield, Mandy
Position:News Briefs

* The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's biological technology office will begin prototyping sensing capabilities using undersea organisms such as plankton and shrimp to detect threats.

DARPA launched its biological technology office in 2014 to begin research in hopes of aiding the Defense Department in the fight against unique forms of bio-terrorism, and deploy biological countermeasures to thwart peer adversaries, according to the agency.

Northrop Grumman was awarded a contract in April to develop biological sensing hardware to observe patterns in the marine environment and help classify targets.

"The purpose of this program is to explore the use of organisms in the undersea environment that are inherent, that have their own organic sensing capabilities," said Vern Boyle, vice president of advanced mission systems at Northrop Grumman.

The persistent aquatic living sensors program, or PALS, will use snapping shrimp and bioluminescent plankton to detect manmade objects underwater.

The company will employ these organisms to "understand if we can use the inherent sensing capabilities of life and the undersea world to better detect disturbances and objects," Boyle said.

A major portion of the program will be studying...

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