M. Sc. Thorben Kaak

Room F-006
Kaiserstraße 2, 24143 Kiel, Germany
Phone: +49 431 880-6144
Telefax: +49 431 880-6128
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Research: Real-time MIMO Signal Processing for active SONAR Systems

The development of SONAR (acronym: SOund Navigation And Ranging) systems startet in the early 20th century inspired by the calamity of the Titanic in 1912. A system should be developed to prevent collision with icebergs. Since that time systems for a broad variety of applications such as navigation, fish finding, cartography, etc. have been developed and SONAR systems are extensively used in civil as well as military shipping. Next to active systems where emitted soundwaves are used to sense the environment by reflections, passive systems are available which are solely listening for waves emitted by the environment. In many available systems "classical" techniques like time-delay beamforming and the emission of correlated waveforms using all available sender elements are utilized. Next to that the operator needs to intervene to adopt the emitted waveforms and the processing chain to the environment and the awaited target type to achieve an optimal detection rate.

Recently so called cognitive SONAR-systems and in addition to that MIMO techniques are proposed. Both ideas should be combined to build an innovative more powerful system. While cognitive systems are sensing the environment and utilizing previous detection data to autonomously optimize emitted waveforms and the processing of the raw data to the situation, MIMO-systems are emitting uncorrelated waveforms to achieve an improved illumination of the underwaterchannel and such virtual arrays with a higher number of elements. As the number of elements is related to the resolution of the system such systems are e.g. capable of an enhanced detection rate.

Related topics:

  • Beamforming
  • MIMO techniques
  • Sensor fusion
  • Array design
  • Signal design

Further interests:

  • Real-time digital signal processing
  • Detection & tracking
  • Channel / environment simulation

Short CV

2016 - current   Research assistant at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Kiel, Germany
2014 - 2016   M.Sc. in Electrical and Information Engineering
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Germany
2010 - 2014   B.Sc. in Electrical and Information Engineering
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Germany
2008 - 2010   Electronics technician for industrial engineering, apprenticeship
SWN Stadtwerke Neumünster GmbH, Germany


T. O. Wisch, T. Kaak, A. Namenas, G. Schmidt: Spracherkennung in stark gestörten Unterwasserumgebungen, Proc. DAGA 2018

T. Kaak, and G. Schmidt: An Introduction to Real-time Cognitive SONAR Systems Utilizing Novel MIMO Approaches, Proc. DAGA, Kiel, Germany, open access, 2017

A. Namenas, T. Kaak, and G. Schmidt: Real-time Simulation of Underwarter Acoustic Channels, Proc. DAGA, Kiel, Germany, open access, 2017

Internal PhD Students


Rasool Al-mafrachi
Christin Baasch
Analysis of Parkinson Speech
Christin Bald
Real-time Signal Processing for Magnetoelectric Sensors
Eric Elzenheimer
Medical Signal Processing
Marco Gimm
Tobias Hübschen
Instrumental Quality Assessment for Speech Communication Systems
Alexej Namenas
Cognitive-adaptive Target Detection and Tracking for SONAR Systems
Anton Namenas
Acoustic Environments and Evaluation of Communication Systems
Thorben Kaak
Real-time MIMO Signal Processing for Active SONAR Systems
Finn Spitz
Speech Analysis and Therapy for Parkinson Patients
Owe Wisch
Underwater Communication in Real-time MIMO-SONAR-Systems



Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Schmidt

E-Mail: gus@tf.uni-kiel.de

Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Faculty of Engineering
Institute for Electrical Engineering and Information Engineering
Digital Signal Processing and System Theory

Kaiserstr. 2
24143 Kiel, Germany

Recent News

New PhDs in the DSS Team

Since January this year we have two new PhD students in the team: Elke Warmerdam and Finn Spitz.

Elke is from Amsterdam and she works in the neurology department in the university hospital in the group of Prof. Maetzler. Her research topic is movement analysis of patients with neurologic disorders. Elke cooperates with us in signal processing related aspects of her research. Elke plays ...

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