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Underwater


— Telecommunications

Microsoft's undersea data center uses the ocean to keep its cool

Although many people may think that cloud computing exists purely in cyberspace, it does in fact have a physical home – data centers located around the world, each one full of linked servers. These data centers use a lot of power, they create a lot of heat, and it helps if they're close to populated areas. While we've already seen some creative approaches to meeting these needs, Microsoft recently announced that it's tried something else yet … it anchored an unmanned data center to the bottom of the sea.

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— Marine

DEDAVE may be the autonomous underwater vehicle for everyone else

The Ford Model T wasn't the first car to ever be commercially available, but it was one of the very first to be mass-produced. This meant that its price could be kept relatively low, allowing for purchase by people who would otherwise have never been able to afford an automobile. Well, the DEDAVE could be to autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) what the Model T was to cars. Created by Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation, it's claimed to be "the world's first autonomous underwater vehicle to be developed from the outset with a view to series production."

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— Robotics

Soft robotic grippers lend a delicate hand in undersea exploration

While underwater robotics solutions are becoming more and more impressive as the years go by, machines used for delicate activities like collecting samples of marine life or conducting underwater archaeology still sport clunky robotic hands that lack the necessary soft touch. A research team from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has been working to tackle the issue, designing, building and testing a soft gripper solution.

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— Materials

Researchers develop high-performance underwater glue inspired by mussels

UC Santa Barbara scientists have replicated the uncanny underwater adhesive capacity of mussels – which has previously inspired a surgical glue – in a versatile and strong synthetic material. The ultra-thin material boasts up to 10 times the effectiveness of prior wet/underwater adhesives, and its low molecular weight and functional properties means that it can be used to boost the performance of existing bulk adhesives, as well as in such varied applications as dentistry, nanofabrication, and underwater repair.

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— Marine

Trident ROV may be that underwater drone you've been looking for

Aerial drones are great for providing a bird’s eye view of our world. That said, some people are more interested in seeing a fish’s eye view of their local seacoast or lake. Previously, such folks had to build their own underwater remote-operated vehicle (ROV). Three years ago, San Francisco startup OpenROV made things a little easier for them, by offering an ROV kit that users put together themselves. Now, the company is crowdfunding the fully-assembled Trident ROV, which can reportedly be "flown" through the water.

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— Digital Cameras

PowerGrip H2O selfie stick charges your GoPro underwater

While we've previously seen a number of GoPro accessories which can keep you shooting when the battery runs out, the PolarPro PowerGrip H2O is the first we've come across capable of live-charging the action camera while underwater. Currently looking for funding on Kickstarter, the PowerGrip H2O is a waterproof selfie stick with an integrated battery, which can charge a camera at depths of up to 30 m (99 ft).

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— Energy

Underwater chemical garden powers a light bulb

Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have grown underwater chimney-like structures capable of generating enough electricity to power a light bulb. The team linked several of these chimneys to get the required electricity. Their findings indicate that the seafloor equivalents of these chemical gardens might just have contributed the electricity needed for the Earth's first organisms to develop.

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