Active Cancellation of Dive Helmet Communication System Noise
Navy SBIR FY2015.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2015.2
Topic No.: N152-110
Topic Title: Active Cancellation of Dive Helmet Communication System Noise
Proposal No.: N152-110-0020
Firm: Noise Control Engineering Inc.
799 Middlesex Tnpk
Billerica, Massachusetts 1821
Contact: Kam Ng
Phone: (978) 670-5339
Abstract: In this project we propose to demonstrate the potential of active noise control to reduce acoustic noise in Navy dive helmets by up to 15dB. Emphasis will be placed on reducing noise caused by breathing apparatus and communication system noise and on developing a complementary high fidelity simulation model. The measured signals will be used in a simulation of the ANC system to indicate the achievable active attenuation at the diver’s ears and the potential of ANC for diving helmet noise reduction. The base and option tasks include: 1) Simulation model and control of breathing apparatus noise, 2) Control of communication channel feedback loop noise, 3) Finite Element model of dive helmet acoustic dynamics, and 4) Investigate optimal ANC component locations. In Phase I, a premier team with extensive expertise in active noise control, testing, Finite Element modeling and master diving will instrument and measure exterior and interior noise signals in a dive helmet during underwater high noise operating conditions. The data will be processed and used to develop an simulation model of the ANC system. The model will be exercised to optimize the ANC system for maximum noise reduction in the helmet. Finite Element models will be created and used for preliminary investigations of the acoustic dynamics of the dive helmet interior. Optional tasks include developing a simulation model of “in wire” ANC of background noise on diver communications.
Benefits: Successful execution of this project will result in widespread use of innovative noise quieting dive helmets for US commercial and defense industries where divers are exposed to high levels of noise. The active noise control technology is specifically aimed at eliminating self-generated noise sources including airflow and bubble production in breathing apparatus as well as communication noise due to feedback loop in communication channel. For defense users, helmeted Navy divers will able to perform their underwater duties with increased health and safety, more efficiently and with increased productivity as a result of reduced levels of helmet acoustic noise. From a commercial perspective, the ability to control and limit the levels of undesirable noise in the underwater environment benefits the health of all divers ranging from the beginner to the most experienced.