Naval Researcher Patents New Optical Transmission System

A Naval researcher based in Port Hueneme Division in the United States has been awarded a patent for his invention that may lead to the use of alternative technology by eliminating the current fiber optic cables. The new invention is based on the concepts of Free Space Optics to transmit light to send and receive communication signals in a more secure way. His invention was on one-way transmission from an open network to a closed network.

Matthew Sheehan, a research engineer at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD), was given a first action allowance and patent award by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for one-way data transmission from an open network to a closed network, said a Navy announcement.

The invention is a Lightwave Information Transmitting Optical System or LITOS. It transmits data using visible light communication via free space optics.

Free Space Optics itself is one of the oldest methods employed in the preliminary development stages of fiber optic communication. Alexander Graham Bell used Free Space Optics when he transmitted light signals from the tower of his college building to a nearby building at around 200 meters.

Fiber optics to many of us means the technology that transmits communication signals using light through optical fibers. In fact, the popularity and widespread use of optical fibers in telecommunication had reinforced such an image in common people. Fiber optics at its early stages was utilizing the space.

Free space optics does not use optical fibers. As the name indicates, it’s like communicating over fiber optics without the fiber. This invention ensures the ability to get message traffic from point A to point B in a safe and reliable manner. Often, reliability was an issue pointed against Free space optics.

The technology preserves with the Navy calls an “air gap” isolating a network from other systems, while allowing communications. Because it is able to transmit data with light through the air, no actual connections are needed, Sheehan said.

Chris Monsey, an attorney who assisted Sheehan in the patent process, said the first action allowance shows ” this patent is worthy of particular attention both for tech transfer but, more importantly, for the Navy as it shows that the capability this system can provide represents state-of-the-art for this cybersecurity capability.

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