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Ocean

Collecting plastic nurdles with the 'Nurdler'

You may have heard about the huge floating islands of garbage swirling around in the middle of the Earth's oceans. Much of that waterlogged rubbish is made up of plastic and, like Electrolux with its concept vacuum cleaners, U.K.-based Studio Swine and Kieren Jones are looking to put that waste to good use. As part of an ambitious project, they’ve come up with a system to collect plastic debris and convert it into furniture.  Read More

The BlueComm system on the ocean floor (Photo: Sonardyne International)

It would definitely be an understatement to say that underwater research has its technical challenges. Remote-operated vehicles (ROVs) must be tethered to surface support vessels with unwieldy communications cables, deep-sea water samples have to be hauled to the surface for analysis ... or do they? Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution recently announced that it has partnered with two private companies, to market a couple of technologies that address both of those situations.  Read More

A natural-color image of Titan in front of Saturn captured by Cassini (Image: NASA/JPL-Cal...

The icy surface of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, is almost certainly hiding an ocean of liquid water according to data received by NASA from its Cassini spacecraft. The finding could shed light on the mystery of how methane in Titan's atmosphere is replenished.  Read More

Recent developments have rumored that the SeaOrbiter is set to start construction in Octob...

What once seemed science fiction may be becoming a reality. The futuristic SeaOrbiter ocean explorer, a concept conceived by French architect Jacques Rougerie, has been trying to reach fruition for the past twelve years. However recent developments suggest that the vessel is set to start construction this October, with possible completion in 2013.  Read More

OpenROV is an underwater remote-operated vehicle that will be available in a kit or fully-...

Underwater remote-operated vehicles, or ROVs, are almost impossibly fascinating. They’re controlled by a surface-based operator, who watches their real-time video feed and pilots them via a long umbilical cable. Although the big-league multi-million-dollar ROVs are used for things such as exploring the wreck of the Titanic or studying hydrothermal vents, hobbyists have quite a bit of fun using their own home-built versions just to see what’s under the surface of the local lake. Unfortunately, even to build one yourself, you need to be pretty technically skilled. That could change, however, as the OpenROV project is developing “easy to assemble” kits – it may even provide li’l ROVs that are ready to go, right out of the box.  Read More

Canadian adventurer Greg Kolodziejzyk is selling his custom-made offshore human-powered bo...

Canadian adventurer Greg Kolodziejzyk is certainly no slouch ... among other things, he has set the 24-hour endurance records for riding human-powered vehicles on both land and water. In 2010, he announced his plan to pedal an offshore-capable custom-built boat from British Columbia to Hawaii. After a series of open-water trials, however, he decided against the 3,000-mile (4,828-km) endeavor. The boat, called WiTHiN, is nonetheless quite the feat of engineering – and it’s now up for sale, should you have the cash.  Read More

The Water Discus underwater hotel, scheduled for construction in Dubai

It seems the construction boom in bustling Dubai is far from over – already home to several world record-holding projects, including the tallest building (for just a little while longer), the largest shopping mall and biggest man-made island, plans are now afoot to construct what will likely be the world's largest underwater luxury hotel, the Water Discus. Several years ago, we reported on another such ambitious project, Hydropolis, which sadly never got past the blueprint stage. If Polish company Deep Ocean Technology's (DOT) plans come to fruition, however, guests could one day find themselves asleep beneath the waters of the Persian Gulf.  Read More

'Hydrate-phobic' surface coatings could prevent blockages on deep-sea gas and oil wells (P...

As the world’s appetite for oil and gas continues to increase while access to easily accessible reserves decreases, deep-sea oil and gas wells are being positioned in ever-deeper waters. The dangers and difficulties faced in such operations were highlighted in 2010 with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. While placing a containment dome over a leak and piping the oil to a surface storage vessel had worked on leaks in shallower water, the attempt to do the same on the Deepwater Horizon’s largest leak failed when the formation of methane hydrate crystals blocked the opening at the top of the dome. Now researchers at MIT have developed surface coatings that can inhibit the buildup of these methane hydrates and keep the gas and oil flowing.  Read More

NASA's stunning Perpetual Ocean animation visualizes ocean currents (Image: NASA/Goddard S...

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is an unlikely entrant in the SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival. Its “Perpetual World” animation may have failed to appeal to the judging committee of the 2011 edition of the competition, but it sure succeeded in catching our eye. The jaw-dropping animation visualizes the flow of surface ocean currents around the world. The raw data regarding the currents from June 2005 through to December 2007 has been turned into a work of art reminiscent of van Gogh.  Read More

The TAT7 iPhone Scuba Case, with a photo taken using it

There was a time, back in the days of film cameras, when the only ways of getting underwater photos were to buy an expensive waterproof SLR, an expensive waterproof housing for a regular SLR, or a cheap disposable waterproof camera that took horrible shots. Now, all you have to do is buy a housing like the TAT7 iPhone Scuba Case, and start snapping high-res pics – assuming you’ve got the phone to go with it.  Read More

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