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MEMS-Based Optical Identification and Communication Systems (MOICS)

Tanner Labs is developing the MEMS-Based Optical Identification and Communication System (MOICS), technology that can identify friend or foe (IFF) or relay data from sensors in hazardous environments. MOICS comprises two types of components:

Remote units with MEMS corner cube reflectors (CCRs), which reflect incident energy back to its source and can modulate the reflected signal

An interrogator unit, which sends a coded optical laser beam to locate and request information from the remote units

The remote units will be small, lightweight, rugged, and environmentally sealed, and they will require minimal power because the interrogator transmits the signal energy. Moreover, they will not require expensive positioning systems because the interrogator can be based on common laser range-finding technology.

Because MOICS operates at optical wavelengths, it can be eye safe, and the apertures for both the interrogator and remote units can be very small. As a LOS optical system with a low beam divergence, MOICS provides high angular and range resolution, thereby assuring specific target identification. The small beam divergence combined with a high data rate also make MOICS a low probability of intercept (LPI) system. With cryptographic coding, MOICS would be one of the most secure communications capabilities on the battlefield.

This research has been sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).


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