Marine creatures are well adapted to their environment, and scientists want to employ their sensory abilities to pick up signals that might be missed by conventional technology.
This could mean anything from monitoring fluctuations in schools of sea bass to microbes responding to the magnetic signatures emitted by submarines.
The Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors (PALS) programme will make use of this information to transform these creatures into self-sustaining populations of underwater spies.
“The US Navy’s current approach to detecting and monitoring underwater vehicles is hardware-centric and resource intensive,” said programme manager Dr Lori Adornato as the initiative was launched last year.
“As a result, the capability is mostly used at the tactical level to protect high-value assets like aircraft carriers, and less so at the broader strategic level.
“If we can tap into the innate sensing capabilities of living organisms that are ubiquitous in the oceans, we can extend our ability to track adversary activity and do so discreetly, on a persistent basis, and with enough precision to characterise the size and type of adversary vehicles.”
A total of $45m (£35m) has now been distributed to five research teams, each of which is working on a particular organism and developing technologies to monitor them and beam information back to the scientists.
This seems crude in comparison to Day of the Dolphin.
I thought for sure we’d have talking Dolphins working for us by now.