Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory
The Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory (NSMRL) is located on the New London Submarine Base
Naval Submarine Base New London
Naval Submarine Base New London is the United States Navy's primary submarine base, the "Home of the Submarine Force", and "the Submarine Capital of the World".-History:...

 in Groton, Connecticut
Groton, Connecticut
Groton is a town located on the Thames River in New London County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 39,907 at the 2000 census....

. The laboratory's mission is to protect the health and enhance the performance of United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 War Fighters through focused submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

, diving
Scuba diving
Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving in which a diver uses a scuba set to breathe underwater....

, and surface research solutions.

History and Overview

The United States Submarine Service has a long and proud tradition of developing and operating with leading edge technologies. The Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory is a major contributor to integrating these technologies into submarine crew operations. Established in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 to conduct mission critical studies in night vision
Night vision
Night vision is the ability to see in low light conditions. Whether by biological or technological means, night vision is made possible by a combination of two approaches: sufficient spectral range, and sufficient intensity range...

, sonar
Sonar is a technique that uses sound propagation to navigate, communicate with or detect other vessels...

 sound discrimination, and personnel selection, NSMRL continues to serve the fleet by taking the lead in undersea human factors
Human factors
Human factors science or human factors technologies is a multidisciplinary field incorporating contributions from psychology, engineering, industrial design, statistics, operations research and anthropometry...

, Sensory analysis
Sensory analysis
Sensory analysis is a scientific discipline that applies principles of experimental design and statistical analysis to the use of human senses for the purposes of evaluating consumer products. The discipline requires panels of human assessors, on whom the products are tested, and recording the...

, and operational medicine.

NSMRL is at the forefront of operational undersea research and development, as it has been for over 50 years. Its achievements include:
  • Sea Lab
    SEALAB (United States Navy)
    SEALAB I, II, and III were experimental underwater habitats developed by the United States Navy to prove the viability of saturation diving and humans living in isolation for extended periods of time...

     1 habitat project
  • Disabled Submarine Escape and Rescue project
  • "Rig-for-red" viewing
  • Development of the International Orange
    International orange
    International orange is a color used in the aerospace industry to set things apart from their surroundings, similar to safety orange, but deeper and with a more reddish tone.-International orange :...

     color (Air-Sea Rescue Red)
  • Studies of hyperbaric nitrogen narcosis
    Nitrogen narcosis
    Narcosis while diving , is a reversible alteration in consciousness that occurs while scuba diving at depth. The Greek word ναρκωσις is derived from narke, "temporary decline or loss of senses and movement, numbness", a term used by Homer and Hippocrates...

  • Development of saturation diving
    Saturation diving
    Saturation diving is a diving technique that allows divers to reduce the risk of decompression sickness when they work at great depth for long periods of time....

     and decompression tables
  • Performance based screening of color vision
    Color vision
    Color vision is the capacity of an organism or machine to distinguish objects based on the wavelengths of the light they reflect, emit, or transmit...

  • Personnel screening and assessment for enclosed environments
    Claustrophobia is the fear of having no escape and being closed in small spaces or rooms...

  • Effects of atmospheric constituents
    Environmental chemistry
    Environmental chemistry is the scientific study of the chemical and biochemical phenomena that occur in natural places. It should not be confused with green chemistry, which seeks to reduce potential pollution at its source...

     on health and performance in enclosed environments
  • Underwater acoustic signal discrimination and classification
  • Bioeffects of underwater sound
  • Search and rescue
    Search and rescue
    Search and rescue is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger.The general field of search and rescue includes many specialty sub-fields, mostly based upon terrain considerations...

NSMRL is located in Groton, Connecticut, near the juncture of the Thames River
Thames River (Connecticut)
The Thames River is a short river and tidal estuary in the U.S. state of Connecticut. It flows south for through eastern Connecticut from the junction of the Yantic and Shetucket rivers at Norwich, to New London and Groton, which flank its mouth at the Long Island Sound.Differing from its...

 and Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound is an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, located in the United States between Connecticut to the north and Long Island, New York to the south. The mouth of the Connecticut River at Old Saybrook, Connecticut, empties into the sound. On its western end the sound is bounded by the Bronx...

. Arrangements for system validation are conveniently made through Submarine School New London; sea trials with research products are coordinated through the Submarine Base New London and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center
Naval Undersea Warfare Center
The Naval Undersea Warfare Center is the United States Navy's full-spectrum research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support center for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, and offensive and defensive weapons systems associated with undersea warfare...

 in Newport, RI.


  • NSMRL Unique Physical Facilities
  • Two Hyperbaric Chambers
    Pressure vessel
    A pressure vessel is a closed container designed to hold gases or liquids at a pressure substantially different from the ambient pressure.The pressure differential is dangerous and many fatal accidents have occurred in the history of their development and operation. Consequently, their design,...

     - Saturation and Hypobaric Capability
  • 1000 m3 Anechoic Chamber
    Anechoic chamber
    An anechoic chamber is a room designed to stop reflections of either sound or electromagnetic waves.They are also insulated from exterior sources of noise...

  • 145 m3 Reverberant Chamber
    Reverberation Chamber
    The term reverberation Chamber is used in acoustics as well as in electrodynamics.* Reverberation rooms or echo chambers are used for sound applications....

  • Ten Sound proof Audio Testing Booths
  • Vision
    Visual perception
    Visual perception is the ability to interpret information and surroundings from the effects of visible light reaching the eye. The resulting perception is also known as eyesight, sight, or vision...

     and Auditory
    Hearing (sense)
    Hearing is the ability to perceive sound by detecting vibrations through an organ such as the ear. It is one of the traditional five senses...

     Research Suites
  • Technical Library
    In a traditional sense, a library is a large collection of books, and can refer to the place in which the collection is housed. Today, the term can refer to any collection, including digital sources, resources, and services...

     & Graphics Studio
  • Waterfront Access (Submarines and Diving)
  • Diving Work Boat

The NSMRL auditory laboratory includes a large, 1000 m3 Anechoic Chamber. The suspended cable floor and fiberglass wedges provide an "echo-free" environment that is essential for efforts on spatialized
Spatial memory
In cognitive psychology and neuroscience, spatial memory is the part of memory responsible for recording information about one's environment and its spatial orientation. For example, a person's spatial memory is required in order to navigate around a familiar city, just as a rat's spatial memory is...

 auditory displays and transducer evaluation. Additionally, there are ten fully instrumented soundproof booths and a reverberant room. These facilities are integral to the work on human-machine interfaces
Human factors
Human factors science or human factors technologies is a multidisciplinary field incorporating contributions from psychology, engineering, industrial design, statistics, operations research and anthropometry...

, 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. Close collaboration on several projects has been maintained with the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and its facilities at Alverstoke, England.

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
Boston Whaler
Boston Whaler is a boat company that builds foam filled fiberglass boats. Boston whaler was founded in 1958 by Richard T Fisher, and is still in business today.-History of the Design:...

 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
Rubicon Foundation
Rubicon Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization devoted to contributing to the interdependent dynamic between research, exploration, science and education. The foundation, started in 2002, is located in Durham, North Carolina and is primarily supported by donations and grants. Funding has...

. Other articles can be found in the DUMC Archive
An archive is a collection of historical records, or the physical place they are located. Archives contain primary source documents that have accumulated over the course of an individual or organization's lifetime, and are kept to show the function of an organization...

 finding aid
Finding aid
A finding aid is a document containing detailed information about a specific collection of papers or records within an archive. They are used by researchers to determine whether information within a collection is relevant to their research...

s of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society
Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society
The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society is the primary source of information for diving and hyperbaric medicine physiology worldwide.-History:The Undersea Medical Society grew from the close associations of a small group of scientists...

library collection.

Other external links

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