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Ann a Lyn n Sp itzer s orale M e i b Deb

Sharon Henry

Current military instruments, like missiles and ground/ air vehicles, often rely on global positioning systems for location, navigation and control. The problem, though, is that GPS signals are weak and therefore vulnerable to outside interference. “You can turn on your hair dryer and easily jam or overpower GPS signals,” says Andrei Shkel, UC Irvine Samueli School mechanical and aerospace engineering professor. Hackers have turned this susceptibility into a form of modern warfare. They can “spoof” GPS systems, creating havoc by directing instruments away from their intended targets. So Shkel and his team are working with the U.S. military to develop an alternative positioning system. Armed with DARPA funding of more than $2.9 million, they are fabricating a tiny gyroscope as part of a self-contained inertial measurement unit (IMU). The IMUs can work alone or in conjunction with GPS – taking over during a GPS outage, for example – to provide interference-free navigation. IMUs contain a minimum of three gyroscopes, which measure orientation in space, and three accelerometers, which document position. “The six sensors give complete information about position and orientation of any object without depending on GPS. They don’t require external signals and therefore cannot be jammed or spoofed,” says Shkel, who adds that the gyroscopes are the most complicated part of the IMU. The project incorporates a previously unused – at least in gyroscopes – approach known as mechanical amplitude amplification,

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Profile for Shelly Nazarenus

INTERFACE Magazine, Spring 2019  

An award-winning semi-annual publication of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) at the Univ....

INTERFACE Magazine, Spring 2019  

An award-winning semi-annual publication of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) at the Univ....

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