Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Ocean

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

James Cameron prepares to  enter Deepsea Challenger just prior to beginning his record-set...

On March 26 at 7:52am local time, film maker/explorer James Cameron entered the history books and became the first person to visit the ocean's deepest point alone. Just two weeks ago, we reported on his previous solo-dive record of 26,791 feet (8,166m), which he handily smashed by plunging 35,756 feet (10,898m) into the Mariana Trench's Challenger Deep southwest of Guam. If the handful of contenders still vying for the record want to beat Cameron, they'll now have to excavate, because that's as deep as it gets.  Read More

The Subwing is a device that is towed behind a boat, allowing the rider to 'fly' underwate...

We’ve probably all seen scuba divers on television, hitching rides on the backs of manta rays or sea turtles. For those of us who love the ocean, it looks like a near-magical experience, but ... you shouldn’t do it. Marine biologists will tell you that it’s simply a form of harassment, which the animals themselves don’t particularly enjoy. So, how can you replicate that “flying underwater” experience? Well, Norwegian inventor Simon Sivertsen would suggest you buy his boat-towed Subwing.  Read More

A group of four autonomous underwater vehicles have just set a world distance record, by t...

On November 17th of last year, a group of four wave-powered autonomous aquatic robots set out from San Francisco, embarking on a planned 37,000-mile (60,000-km) trip across the Pacific ocean. Recently, the fleet of Wave Gliders completed the first leg of their journey, arriving at Hawaii’s Big Island after traveling over 3,200 nautical miles (5,926 km). By doing so, they have set a new distance record for unmanned wave-powered vehicles – that record previously sat at 2,500 nautical miles (4,630 km).  Read More

The DEEPSEA CHALLENGER with one of its utility booms deployed (Photo: National Geographic/...

Well-known film director and deep-sea explorer James Cameron is no stranger to setting records, but this time, instead of box office gross, he's setting his sights on something more akin to a single-handed lunar landing - a solo trip to the ocean's deepest point, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench off Guam. Billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson is hard on Cameron's heels but it appears almost certain the genius behind the blockbusters Titanic and Avatar will be the first to get there alone - he just snagged the record for deepest solo dive off Papua New Guinea on March 6th with a depth of 26,791′ (8.2km).  Read More

A new algorithmic system allows AUVs to reach their destinations faster, or to use less po...

Autonomous underwater vehicles, better known as AUVs, are increasingly finding use in applications such as oceanographic research, mapping, military reconnaissance, and deep-sea oil-well maintenance. As these independent underwater robots make their way through the world’s oceans, they use GPS transceivers to keep themselves on a predetermined route. When they encounter challenges such as cross-currents, one might assume that their best course of action would be simply to power straight across them, in order to travel the shortest distance possible. Engineers from MIT, however, have developed a system that allows AUVs to reach their destinations sooner, by traveling out of their way to “go with the flow.”  Read More

When the Restube inflates, the user holds onto it to keep afloat

Most anyone that can swim can handle a float across the pool without significant risk of drowning, but being out on a large, open body of water like the ocean or a lake brings dangers to even the surest swimmer. While a personal flotation device (PFD) is a simple solution that will keep you afloat, it can be restricting and cumbersome to wear, making it uncomfortable for athletic activities like surfing or kiteboarding. The Restube gives you some of the life-saving power of a traditional flotation device without the unwanted bulk and discomfort.  Read More

EM Observe is an electronic system, that remotely monitors fishing vessels' catches

In an effort to save the world's oceans from overfishing, many countries now require commercial fishing vessels to bring along an observer, who checks that the crew aren't exceeding their catch limits. That observer takes up cabin space on the boat, however, plus they require a salary, and probably aren't made to feel particularly welcome by the crew members. This month, however, a Spanish purse seiner became the world's first tropical tuna-fishing vessel to try out something different - an electronic monitoring system. Designed by Archipelago Marine Research, the EM Observe system is already in regular use in the company's home province of British Columbia, Canada.  Read More

Mars Express has used its MARSIS radar to give strong evidence for a former ocean of Mars ...

The European Space Agency (ESA) has provided more evidence that suggests the surface of Mars was once home to an ocean. Featuring ground-penetrating radar capabilities, the MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding) radar aboard the ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft has detected sediments like that seen on an ocean floor.  Read More

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