This iRobot PackBot has "ears" tuned for gunshots. The top half of its head is a biomimetic acoustic gunshot localization device. Biomimetic means that the processing inside mimics features of mammalian auditory perception. This technology originates from cochlear mechanics research at Boston University. Its advantage is that it provides a more robust and efficient means of localizing gunshots in cluttered and noisy real world environments. After a gunshot is detected, the device indicates with high precision where the shot originated from with direction, elevation, and distance. This all happens in a fraction of a second and as the device turns and tilts, internal sensors keep all positions updated. In particular, this robot turns to focus its optics package and "see" where the shot was detected.
As Lead Engineer at BioMimetic Systems for nearly 5 years, I was passionate about engineering across disciplines toward furthering quantitative understanding and utility from the domain, between sound and human meaning, that is auditory perception. The first hire from outside the founding lab group, I was critically involved in research and development of 5 generations of the core product, a biomimetic acoustic gunshot localization device that mimicked mammalian auditory perception to enable robust performance in echoic, cluttered, and noisy battlefield environments.
User requirements reigned paramount, working across all layers of the product spectrum: software, signal processing, acoustic, hardware, etc. As part of this small but highly aggressive core engineering team, reassessing priorities and taking action was continuous in order to deliver immediately salient results for critical issues while agilely balancing steadfast gain on long term product development.
Below are more selected examples of the products we created. My role included designing, integrating, and testing software, hardware, and acoustics.