Using optical fibers, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have found a way to create a sensor that detects the direction from which a sound is coming under water. The new sensor could allow the U.S. Navy to develop compact arrays to detect quiet underwater targets, while also providing unambiguous directional information.

The sensor uses a mechanism inspired by how fish hear under water, and can be modified to measure the water deformation, known as shear, associated with a sound wave -- a quantity typically difficult to measure because it requires very sensitive instruments. This new sensor shows promise that it can be successfully modified to detect this acoustic shear, which will enhance the directional information.

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