Dive Helmet Communication System
Navy SBIR FY2015.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2015.2
Topic No.: N152-110
Topic Title: Dive Helmet Communication System
Proposal No.: N152-110-0503
Firm: Oceanit Laboratories, Inc.
Oceanit Center
828 Fort Street Mall, Suite 600
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Contact: Chris Sullivan
Phone: (808) 531-3017
Web Site: www.oceanit.com
Abstract: Oceanit proposes to create technologies to improve diver communications at working depths compensating for different gas densities and minimizing communication feedback. The goal is to investigate applications of digital signal processing and actuators (speakers and microphones) and apply these findings in developing a Helmeted Diver communication system(s). This development is to address diver helmet communications that will operate well with diver helmet breathing noise and underwater tool noise while operating in varying gas density/mixtures (squeaky voice). The developed system (helmet (bottom-side) and diver station (topside)) must demonstrate improved and clear communications in actual dives and/or dive chambers. The components must be rugged and usable in marine environments while utilizing existing umbilical lines. It would include noise monitoring and consider future fiber optic signal umbilical lines.
Benefits: A diver helmet communication system using modern, digital signal processing, with matched microphones and speakers (actuators) to overcome the challenges and the feedback that occurs in the current analog system. All required components will be included in the system for improved diver (helmet) and topside communications. The system will be able to frequency compensate to keep incoming signals in the optimal voice range for divers and correct for topside signals. The new system will be robust enough to handle the moisture/salt in a marine diving (90% humidity) scenario and the inherent rough handling of diver equipment. The system will also include the capability for noise monitoring and use of fiber optic signal umbilical lines in the future (i.e. accommodate the use of fiber optic cables and the reduction of copper wire in the umbilical lines). The system will work in the current noise levels of 94 to 97 dBA, which are noise hazardous and compromise current communications. ANSI S3.2-2009 (R2014) (Method for Measuring the Intelligibility of Speech over Communication Systems) will be a means of evaluation using the modified rhyme test. ANSI S3.2-2009 (R2014) includes factors that affect the intelligibility of speech. The new system will reduce the noise feedback loop in the helmet, producing high noise levels at the diver's ear, which increases the noise exposure. The goal is to reduce noise levels below 85 dBA.