Autumn 2018

Heads-up for Shadow Nav

Award-winning navigation technology projected on to diving mask offers hands-free guidance in poor visibility for combat divers. 

Last year JFD was approached by the US Navy in search of a partner to help push forward the design and development of a highly innovative  diver navigation device, and has subsequently won an industry award for its involvement in the project.

The Combat Diver Navigation Module (CDNM) technology invented by the US Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division provides combat divers with a clear visual display of compass heading, depth and time even in zero visibility.  

The US Navy was keen to team-up with a supplier to take the technology (called Shadow NAV) to market and make it widely available within and outside the military service.

JFD was selected to work with the US Navy on research, development and production under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement and the device was subsequently transferred for manufacture via a Patent License Agreement to JFD last year.

JFD project manager, Mini Nambiar explains that the Shadow NAV is a low-cost, low-power enhanced navigation capability which fits into a diver’s standard low volume mask to provide a clear visual display of the their compass heading, depth, and timer even in near-zero visibility conditions.

‘The Shadow NAV significantly increases accuracy, safety, and situational awareness for divers conducting dangerous underwater navigation missions,’ she says, ‘it allows combat divers to navigate to their target even in very poor visibility.

During in-water trials, divers were able to accurately navigate to their target and gave very positive feedback about the device.'

It provides divers with  ‘hands free’ capability unencumbered by compass and depth gauges and eradicates any concerns about being able to read gauges in poor visibility. By pressing a ‘NavLock’ button the diver can ‘box’ a compass heading on the screen, watch any deviation from the course, and get swiftly back on track to maintain accurate navigational course.

These features can significantly improve safety standards for military divers and give them the best possible chance of successfully completing their missions, but the hope is that Shadow NAV will also be useful for first responders, public safety, and potentially private-sector civilian use too.

Such is the significance of this working partnership that the JFD and NSWC PCD teams were selected from more than 300 nominations to be awarded a 2018 Excellence in Technology Transfer Award by the Federal Laboratory Consortium in recognition of ‘outstanding technology transfer achievement’.

 

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