Sound Answers Inc., a sound and vibration consulting firm based in Canton Township, has been selected to receive a Small Business Innovation Research Phase II grant by the United States Air Force.

The funded project is titled “Improved Analysis Techniques for Characterizing Jitter in Beam Control Systems.” Sound Answers specializes finding the root cause of noise and vibration issues in the automotive, consumer products and medical markets, and in improving the process of manufacturing to eliminate those issues.

Reducing beam jitter in high energy laser systems is of particular interest to the Air Force because jitter smears the beam on target, reducing its integrated intensity and therefore its target damage capability. Sound Answers was selected for this project because of its past track record of producing comprehensive, yet streamlined and efficient, test and data analysis strategies to map relevant subsystems and components.

The Phase I project consisted of an extensive test survey of the Airborne Pointer Tracker at White Sands Missile Range. The scope of the test campaign was to acquire signals representative of jitter and to develop a fuller understanding of the system in terms of sources of excitation and paths. Sound Answers used this data to evaluate a variety of signal processing algorithms and best practices to help identify the root causes of jitter in the system.

The Phase II project extends this work to develop a Jitter and Vibration Decomposition Toolbox that will help engineers to identify highly coherent sources of vibration and the corresponding paths to root-cause jitter in high energy laser beam alignment systems.  This toolbox will use a minimally redundant test data set from a beam control system and apply a logical sequence of signal processing steps to estimate contributions of the key components to jitter using the source-path-receiver model concept.

The techniques and tools, including the JVDT toolbox, developed during this Phase II project will be commercially available.  Also, in response to the SBIR Phase II project award, Sound Answers is expecting to hire a senior engineer in the last half of 2010.

For more information, contact Sound Answers at 248-275-5567 or visit

(c) 2010, WWJ Newsradio 950. All rights reserved.


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