Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Marine

Ducati's 1198S and Diavel pictured with the Cigarette 42x Ducati Edition

Ducati is making a serious effort to move its motorcycle brand upwards and leverage the visibility its MotoGP and World Superbike success has given it. The recently announced marketing alliances with automotive brand AMG and apparel company Diesel have now been extended to the luxury go-fast Cigarette boat company. Some of the world’s wealthiest and most influential people have owned cigarette boats including George Bush Snr, King Hussein of Jordan and King Juan Carlos of Spain. This week a Cigarette Racing 42X Ducati Edition was launched at the Miami Boat Show with staggered 1,100hp Mercury Racing engines, a special sound system, a top speed in excess of 120 mph (on water no less), and a price tag of US$700,000.  Read More

The h2O  scraper is a conceptual multi-dwelling building that would float with its top lev...

As cities become more densely-populated, the trend for multi-dwelling complexes has been to build up – hence the advent of the highrise as we know it today. Building down doesn’t seem to be much of an option, as it would be very labor-intensive, and residents would justifiably freak out at the thought of living hundreds of feet below the surface of the Earth. Malaysian architect Sarly Adre Bin Sarkum, however, has proposed a multi-level building that goes down – into the ocean. While his hO2+ concept is pretty unlikely to ever be built, the imagination behind it was enough to merit a Special Mention in eVolo magazine’s 2010 Skyscraper Competition.  Read More

'Build Your Own Underwater Robot' teaches children - and adults - how to build the SeaPerc...

If you like gadgets, and you like the ocean, then you must like ROVs – it’s just that simple. For the uninitiated, ROVs (Remote Operated Vehicles) are small unmanned submarines that are used for underwater operations deemed too deep, dangerous or difficult for human divers. They’re tethered to a support ship, from which a human operator controls them in real time, watching a live video feed from an onboard camera. It’s all incredibly appealing to those of us who are fascinated by the prospect of what secrets lurk beneath the surface of the ocean... or of the local pond. A few dedicated souls go so far as to trying to create their own homebuilt ROVs, many of them turning to what has become the bible on the subject, Build Your Own Underwater Robot and other Wet Projects. Gizmag had a chance to talk to the two authors of the book, and found out what inspired them to pursue such an unlikely project.  Read More

Elephant seal with CTD tag. Photo credit: Chris Oosthuizen

Australian climate and ocean scientists are studying some of the planet's most remote areas using a multi-million dollar array of high-tech underwater equipment that provides data vital for the monitoring of almost one-third of the world's oceans. The kit of technology includes sensor floats and autonomous underwater vehicles, which combine with sensor tagged animals, moored scientific stations and satellite remote sensing to form the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS). All data collected is made available online, which represents a big step forward in climate science. Gizmag's Grant Banks takes a closer look at what makes IMOS tick.  Read More

Rendering of the C-Explorer 5 five-seater submarine

Personal submarine maker U-Boat Worx has commenced development work on its C-Explorer 5 submersible. Designed to send four passengers and one pilot to depths of up to 100 meters (328 ft.), the latest member of the company’s C-Explorer line of submersibles features a full 360-degree acrylic pressure hull to give everyone on board clear views of the underwater sights.  Read More

A new algorithmic system that automatically identifies underwater sounds in real time has ...

It’s always upsetting to hear about whales beaching themselves, and one of the leading theories on the phenomenon suggests that it may sometimes be due to noise pollution in the oceans. Whales navigate and communicate via sound, so it’s entirely possible that human-introduced noises (such as those produced by ships, oil rigs, or naval navigational beacons) could confuse them, and throw them off course – it has even been posited that noises such as military sonar could deafen or kill them. In an effort to better understand the link between ocean noises and whale well-being, researchers from Spain’s Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) have developed a first-ever system that identifies undersea sounds – both human and cetacean – in real time.  Read More

Scientists are using a Scan Eagle UAV and image recognition software to track seals on the...

The Arctic region is currently experiencing a warming trend which is seeing the ice cap break apart, and may even ultimately result in the total absence of ice in the summer months. Many scientists attribute this trend to man made global warming, but whatever the cause, it’s not good news for the seals that breed, rest, and escape marine predators on the ice. In an effort to understand the full scope of the situation, scientists have turned to the Boeing-designed Scan Eagle – an unmanned aerial vehicle more often used for military reconnaissance.  Read More

Ultimate VCI Protection bags are plastic bags which are said to keep steel tools stored in...

Fishermen, sailors, and other people who take to the sea will know how quickly and easily steel tools begin to rust in a marine environment. One method of dealing with the problem involves spraying the tools with oil before storage, then wiping them off before use. New Jersey-based company Leland Limited, however, is now offering what it describes as a simpler, more eco-friendly alternative: plastic tool-storage bags that prevent rust.  Read More

Dolphins were the inspiration for a new type of sonar called twin inverted pulse sonar (TW...

By measuring the differences between emitted sound pulses and their echoes sonar is able to detect and identify targets such as reefs, wrecks, submarines and fish shoals. However, standard sonar has limitations in shallow water because bubble clouds, which result from breaking waves or other causes, can scatter sound and clutter the sonar image. Inspired by the exceptional sonar capabilities of dolphins, scientists have now developed a new underwater device that can outperform standard sonar and detect objects through bubble clouds.  Read More

Tethys floating at the sea surface in Monterey Bay (Image: Todd Walsh copyright 2010 MBARI...

When it comes to exploring the murky depths of the oceans, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) have become increasingly important over the past decade. These vehicles generally fall into one of two groups: propeller-driven vehicles such as Snookie that can travel fast and carry lots of instruments, but are limited to expeditions of just a few days, and “gliders,” which can stay at sea for weeks or even months at a time, but are slow. Engineers have combined the best of these two approaches to create a new long-range AUV (LRAUV) that can travel rapidly for hundreds of kilometers, “hover” in the water for weeks at a time, and carry a wide variety of instruments.  Read More

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