Research unit for submarine and diving medicine
The Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory (NSMRL) is located on the New London Submarine Base in Groton, Connecticut. The laboratory's mission is to sustain the readiness and superiority of our undersea warriors through innovative health and performance research. It is a subordinate command of the Naval Medical Research Center.
History and overview
The laboratory was established during World War II to study night vision, sonar sound discrimination, and personnel selection. Today it continues in the areas of undersea warfighter health and performance, submarine atmospheric monitoring, bioeffects of underwater sound and blast, submariner psychological fitness, submarine human systems integration, diving and hyberbaric research, submarine survival, escape, and rescue, hearing conservation, and undersea health epidemiology. Its achievements include:
- Sea Lab 1 habitat project
- Disabled Submarine Escape and Rescue project
- "Rig-for-red" viewing
- Development of the International Orange color (Air-Sea Rescue Red)
- Studies of hyperbaric nitrogen narcosis
- Development of saturation diving and decompression tables
- Performance-based screening of color vision
- Personnel screening and assessment for enclosed environments
- Effects of atmospheric conditions on health and performance in enclosed environments
- Underwater acoustic signal discrimination and classification
- Bioeffects of underwater sound
- Search and rescue
NSMRL is located in Groton, Connecticut near the mouth of the Thames River and Long Island Sound.
The NSMRL auditory laboratory includes a large, 1,000 m3 anechoic chamber. The suspended cable floor and fiberglass wedges provide an "echo-free" environment that is essential for efforts on spatialized auditory displays and transducer evaluation. Additionally, there are ten instrumented sound-proof booths and a reverberant room. These facilities are integral to the work on human-machine interfaces, combat systems displays, hearing conservation, audio signal enhancement, noise reduction techniques, and diver hearing.
The laboratory has a 142 m3 enclosed atmosphere testing environment and facilities for cardiopulmonary and metabolic workload assessment. It also has maintained close collaboration with the Royal Navy and its facilities at Alverstoke, England on several projects. NSMRL's diving research program is supported by a saturation diving chamber certified to pressures simulating 350 fsw and a fully instrumented hyperbaric treatment chamber. Both chambers are capable of supporting multi-diver teams and associated medical, physiological, and exercise equipment. The laboratory also maintains an enclosed 25-foot Boston Whaler equipped with GPS and radar to support open water diving research.
Many of the NSMRL publications have been scanned and are available online at the Rubicon Research Repository. Other articles can be found in the DUMC Archive finding aids of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society library collection.