MHD Earth Referenced Azimuth Detector (MERAD)
Navy SBIR FY2008.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2008.2
Topic No.: N08-106
Topic Title: MHD Earth Referenced Azimuth Detector (MERAD)
Proposal No.: N082-106-1075
Firm: Applied Technology Associates
1300 Britt SE
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87123
Contact: Henry Sebesta
Phone: (505) 767-1202
Web Site:
Abstract: Applied Technology Associates (ATA) proposes to develop a miniature, rapid, non-magnetic azimuth sensor by exploiting innovative magneto-hydrodynamic (MHD) inertial angular rate sensing technology. The proposed solution centers upon use of a spinning MHD sensor that outputs a modulated version of Earth rate and offers means of deriving true azimuth. Inertial rate sensing is employed to link the MHD Earth Rate Azimuth Detector's (MERAD's) orientation accurately to the vector that defines the rotation of the Earth. This avoids the errors inherent in systems that only use magnetic field information. The MERAD technical approach draws on the high signal-to-noise feature of ATA's MHD sensor technology. The compute intensive nature of the required mechanism control and signal processing algorithms will be implemented in a processor to ensure meeting size and power goals compatible with the need for a man-portable far-target locator capability.
Benefits: The MERAD offers the capability to determine precise orientation knowledge in a compact and flexible instrument. Other Department of Defense (DoD) elements also have many systems in which MERAD will serve a broad range of applications. Particular benefits of the MERAD arise from its use of very sensitive and low noise inertial rate sensors in combination with other aiding sensors and advanced sensor fusion algorithms. Applications of MERAD potentially include systems that are employed in many missions, for example laser communication, navigation in GPS denied environments, tunnel and pipeline mapping, and numerous others. Commercial applications for which MERAD is relevant include construction, mining, sewer system maintenance, and controlled directional drilling.