Award

LED Air Warning System (LAWS)

First Responder public safety divers (PSDs) often conduct dive missions in environments characterized by zero visibility. These poor visibility conditions make it virtually impossible to read air pressure gauges, even with auxiliary illumination, resulting in divers being unable to effectively monitor their remaining air supply during missions. Because the situation is so perilous, loss of life for PSDs in these conditions is not uncommon. The majority of PSD communities use a device with a single light emitting diode (LED) indicator light that alerts only when air supply is critically low, essentially amounting to a “warning of last resort.”

The LED Air Warning System (LAWS) has changed that, providing a clear visual display of a diver’s air pressure (even in zero visibility conditions) over the duration of a dive. The LAWS technology is effective, affordable, integrates with existing equipment, and meets a critical need in the PSD community. LAWS also has a direct commercial application for recreational diving, scientific diving (e.g., for research and scientific study), and commercial industries such as oil exploration, offshore construction, underwater inspection and maintenance, and underwater photography and videography.

A team at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division (NSWC Panama City) brought their unique experience, expertise, creativity, and innovation to address the challenge and create a successful technology transfer. Dennis Gallagher, NSWC Panama City Office of Research and Technology Applications (ORTA) representative, played the leading role, bringing together critical players and driving the transfer from concept to commercialization. Gallagher led the implementation of a string of different and complementary partnerships among federal government, industry, and academia partners, including a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, two Education Partnership Agreements, and a commercial licensing agreement.

Gallagher pulled together a team of five scientists and engineers from different disciplines at key points in the transfer process. Together, these individuals used their collective expertise to satisfy design and functionality requirements, reduce complexity, and reduce costs in the final product design, driving the technology’s development and ultimate transfer.

LAWS will provide increased safety and new capability for PSDs. The commercial potential for the technology is significant, with a potential sales projection of 8,000-15,000 units in the U.S. alone. The international diver market also holds great commercial potential, and commercial partner Interspiro already operates in nine countries on four continents. LAWS hit the “grand slam” of technology transfer. A federally developed technology was transitioned to a new product with direct application to the military user, first responders, and the private sector.

Contact: Dennis Gallagher, (850) 235-5417, dennis.g.gallagher@navy.mil

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Region: 
Southeast