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Underwater

Science

Optical communications system and autonomous microscope to boost underwater research

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

Robotics

Robotic ray could end up flapping through an ocean near you

Sometime in the future, perhaps sometime soon, the robotic jellyfish, octopi and fish cruising the world’s oceans may have to make way for one other companion – the robotic ray. A team led by University of Virginia engineering professor Hilary Bart-Smith has created such a “creature,” in hopes that its autonomously-operated descendants may someday help us humans explore and study the sea, or possibly perform surveillance for the military.Read More

Mobile Technology

The iGills SE-35 transforms your iPhone into a dive computer

The iGills SE-35 is not just another waterproof case for the iPhone, but instead promises to turn Apple’s mobile device into a fully-featured dive computer. The waterproof scuba diving case protects the iPhone down to depths of 130 feet (40 meters) and allows easy underwater usage via six buttons integrated into the design. Users also retain access to the iPhone's camera for underwater shots and on the software side, the SE-35 is offered with a complementary app which features navigation tools and torch, in addition to an automatic dive log. Read More

Robotics

New algorithms improve efficiency of underwater mine-sweeping robots

In addition to human divers equipped with sonar cameras, the U.S. Navy has also trained dolphins and sea lions to search for bombs on and around vessels. All these methods are expensive and can’t always deliver the best performance in all environments. Robots would seem to be the obvious answer and underwater robots have been the focus of much research and development in recent years. Now researchers at MIT have developed new algorithms to vastly improve the navigation and feature-detecting capabilities of these robots.Read More

Marine

Futuristic SeaOrbiter vessel set for October construction

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

Mobile Technology

driSuit case keeps your iPhone "dri" underwater

People just love their iPhones ... sometimes to the point where they don’t want to stop using them when they enter the water. That’s why the driSuit Endurance was invented. It’s a water- and shockproof case for the iPhone 4 and 4S, that allows users to still take advantage of all of the phone’s touchscreen controls – even when underwater.Read More

The world's first underwater nightclub

Of all the places you might meet a significant other, underwater is probably the last place that springs to mind. Hence, I guess, the novelty of an underwater nightclub. Created as a viral campaign for TechnoMarine Underwater watches, the unique nightclub "launch" was filmed at a military training facility with navy divers and the set was built 14 feet (4 m) underwater. The breathing helmets are from the commercially-available Sea Trek system, so perhaps it's not all that implausible after all.Read More

Space

NASA heads underwater to test concepts for future asteroid mission

With the first manned mission to an asteroid planned for 2025, NASA has sent an international group of “aquanauts” to the ocean floor off the Florida coast to test concepts for such a mission. The four-person crew will spend 12 days 63 feet (19 m) below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean in the Aquarius lab located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary as part of the 16th excursion of the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) program.Read More

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