See High-Tech Scientific Wonders July 25-28, 2002 Aboard the Afloat Lab During Baltimore Inner Harbor Tour

WHAT: Meet the researchers behind RoboLobster, Miniature Chemical Detector & more! Aboard the U.S. Navy's Afloat Lab

WHEN: Special Media Availability Thursday, July 25 & Friday, July 26, 9:30 a.m. to noon
Open to the public Thursday, July 25 to Sunday, July 28
Public Hours: Thursday, July 25 - 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Friday, July 26 through Sunday, July 28 - 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Afloat Lab, Baltimore Inner Harbor

  • Thursday, July 25 & Friday, July 26: Pier 3, Gay & Pratt Streets, in front of the National Aquarium

  • Saturday, July 27 & Sunday, July 28: Between the Harborplace Light Street and Pratt Street Pavilions

See demonstrations of advanced naval technologies aboard the Office of Naval Research's Afloat Lab during its visit to the Baltimore Inner Harbor.

Researchers will be on hand for the media availability on Thursday, July 25 & Friday, July 26 to discuss and demonstrate the following featured technologies:

  • RoboLobster creeps around shallow waters in the manner of its namesake to search autonomously for sea mines. Dr. Promode Bandyopadhyay from the Office of Naval Research will be on hand to talk about biomimetics and to discuss the Navy's support of its robotic zoo.

  • Handheld detector that protects against chemical agent attack will be demonstrated (safely!) by Carl Freeman, president of Sensor Research and Development Corp., of Orono, Maine. The detector contains miniature sensors that quickly identify the presence of dangerous chemicals in real-life environments. The researchers have demonstrated high sensitivity in the parts per billion range to live warfare threats such as nerve and blister agents

  • Images "painted" directly on the eye will be demonstrated by Mark Spiegel of Microvision, Inc., of Bothell, Wash. Nomad is a see-through display that superimposes a computer display over what the eye sees.

  • The Navy has found a way to turn sea sediment into a power source with a fuel cell that relies of the organic remains of decaying marine plants and sea creatures to power naval instruments that currently rely on batteries. Researchers from the Naval Research Laboratory will be on hand to talk about their work.

While visiting the Afloat Lab, you will also see an innovative self-healing communications network that can route around breaks while remaining on-line and allows multiple critical shipboard systems to keep functioning with damaged communication links.

The vessel's primary mission as a test platform provides a realistic shipboard environment for this Survivable Automation Technology. The Afloat Lab takes its nickname, the "Starfish," for this technology because it functions like a real starfish which relies on radial nerves running the length of each ray and connecting to other radial nerves via a nerve ringing the body.

The Afloat Lab is a former Naval Academy Yard Patrol craft used for training at the academy. Typical Yard Patrol crafts have the same machinery, electronics and navigation systems as the Navy's large fleet ships, which makes it an ideal platform for testing new technologies intended for shipboard use.

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