US Navy may replace RF communication with Optical communication in some combat missions

In close combat scenarios, Radio Frequency (RF) communication enables the soldiers to coordinate amongst themselves.

Good communication not only helps in achieving the mission objective, but it also minimizes casualties. However, the RF communication can be used by the enemy to track the soldiers and also to examine the data transfers. Further, the RF spectrum is limited so the communication may be disrupted. Also, RF communication can be harmful to the soldiers.

Therefore, the US Navy may replace RF communication with optical communication in some combat missions.


A recent patent filed by US Navy discloses a laser driven optical communication system. Soldiers will wear a lightweight headset that includes an optical transceiver, which includes two or more laser driven receivers and two or more non-visible light emitting diodes (LEDs). The LEDs convert audio signals from a soldier, encode the signals and then transmit the signals using the laser light. The laser driven receivers receive the optical signal, then decode the optical signal to produce a decoded signal, and finally convert the decoded signal to an audio signal, e.g., a beep/alarm, voice message, etc. The receivers may also send the decoded data to a user interface such as a smartphone.


Further, biometric verification may be included in the optical communication system. The system may receive, for example, a voice sample that is generated in response to a challenge question and compares it to a library of audio samples to determine if the generated response first meets the proper challenge question response as well as a voice recognition system. In this way, biometric verification can be changed on a day-to-day basis and a recorded voice cannot be used to deceive an operator seeking to verify identity.

Patent Information
Publication number: US 20160285551
Patent Title: Methods And Systems For Identification And Communication Using Free Space Optical Systems Including Wearable Systems
Publication date: 29 Sep 2016
Filing date: 25 Nov 2015
Inventors: Kiron Mateti; Taylor Boyke; Christopher Boyd;
Original Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy