Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Ocean

The Ocean Cleanup Project hopes to utilize the oceans' gyres as a means to collect plastic...

Boyan Slat, an aerospace engineering student at the Delft University of Technology, is working to combine environmentalism, technology, and his creative outlook to rid our oceans of plastic debris. His Ocean Cleanup Project aims to utilize the oceans’ natural gyres (five circular currents in the oceans around the world – two in the Atlantic, two in the Pacific, and one in the Indian) to collect plastic waste.  Read More

A model of the Offshore Accommodation Vessel, riding out the waves in a test tank (Photo: ...

When offshore oil drilling rigs are being installed, serviced or dismantled, the workers typically stay in cabins located on adjacent floating platforms. These semi-submersible platforms are towed into place (or travel under their own power) and then their hulls are partially filled with water, allowing them to remain somewhat stable in the pitching seas. Now, a ship is being built to serve the same purpose, but that will be a much more mobile alternative. It will keep from rolling with the waves by generating its own waves, inside its hull.  Read More

The Cyclops research/commercial manned submersible

In three years, if you happen to be 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) beneath the surface of the ocean, keep an eye out for the Cyclops. No, not the hairy giant, but the 5-passenger submersible. Once it’s commercially available in 2016, it should be “the only privately owned deep-water manned submersible available for contracts.” As for why it’s called the Cyclops, just check out its one-big-eye-like 180-degree borosilicate glass observation dome.  Read More

Workers harvest sunscreen-producing bacteria from Norway's Trondheim fjord (Photo: Credit ...

The next generation of powerful sunscreens may have their roots in some unlikely sources – corals from the Great Barrier Reef and bacteria found in the Trondheim Fjord in Norway. When developed, these new sunscreens could offer protection across a wider band of ultraviolet (UV) radiation suspected to cause deadly forms of skin cancer, which current sunscreens don't protect against. The discoveries represent huge breakthroughs, made possible by harnessing the natural sunscreen abilities that these life forms have developed over millions of years to survive the harsh UV radiation in their respective environments.  Read More

Prawns raised on the Novacq fish-free feed additive (Photo: CSIRO)

When it comes to commercial aquaculture, a lot of people have some legitimate concerns – fish farms can introduce antibiotics, anti-algal chemicals and concentrated fish waste into the ocean; escaped fish can upset the local ecological balance; and wild fish still need to be caught in large numbers, as a food source for some species of farmed fish. While there have been recent efforts to address the first two concerns, the fish-in-the-fish-food problem is now being taken on in two different research projects. These are aimed at replacing the fish content in fish feed with more sustainable ingredients.  Read More

The Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences (Photo: Perkins+Will)

Architectural firm Perkins+Will has designed a new research campus for the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. Completed in December, 2012, at a cost of US$31 million, the 54-acre (22-hectare) plot overlooks the ocean in East Boothbay, Maine, and has been awarded LEED Platinum status.  Read More

Shark expert and marine biologist Luke Tipple navigated through shark infested waters

A convertible shark cage may be a complete oxymoron, but Volkswagen and partners have built one for Discovery Channel's upcoming Shark Week. More than just a stationary exhibit, the shark cage is a functioning watercraft with impressive capabilities. Gizmag talked to Luke Tipple, the marine biologist, shark diving expert and TV personality responsible for building and driving the craft, to find out more about what it's like to scooter around shark-infested waters in a skeletal Beetle ragtop.  Read More

A sample piece of hull material painted with (bottom) and without the ivermectin-laced pai...

Barnacles may look nice and nautical on things like rocks, but they’re a major problem for watercraft of all sorts. On the hulls of ships, for example, they can drastically decrease the vessel’s hydrodynamics, causing it to burn more fuel and emit more emissions in order to maintain its cruising speed. The most common way of keeping barnacles off those hulls involves the use of environmentally-unfriendly paints. Now, however, a scientist from Sweden’s University of Gothenburg has developed what could be a less harmful alternative.  Read More

The Turanor PlanetSolar arrives at the town of Marigot on the island of St. Martin

With its previous circumnavigation of the planet, it had already set the record for longest distance traveled by a purely solar-powered boat. Now, the Tûranor PlanetSolar (which is also the world’s largest solar-powered watercraft), has broken its own 2010 record for fastest Atlantic crossing by a solar-powered boat.  Read More

The OTIS glider and an Atlantic sturgeon, which is about to be tagged and released (Activi...

The Atlantic sturgeon, which is one of the world’s oldest species of fish, can live up to 60 years, reaching a length of of 15 feet (4.6 meters) and a weight of over 800 pounds (360 kg). It’s also endangered, due to past overfishing for its caviar. In order to protect the sturgeon that are left, it’s important to keep fishermen from catching them accidentally. That’s why researchers at the University of Delaware and Delaware State University are calling upon satellites, and an underwater robot known as OTIS.  Read More

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