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Underwater

'Build Your Own Underwater Robot' teaches children - and adults - how to build the SeaPerc...

If you like gadgets, and you like the ocean, then you must like ROVs – it’s just that simple. For the uninitiated, ROVs (Remote Operated Vehicles) are small unmanned submarines that are used for underwater operations deemed too deep, dangerous or difficult for human divers. They’re tethered to a support ship, from which a human operator controls them in real time, watching a live video feed from an onboard camera. It’s all incredibly appealing to those of us who are fascinated by the prospect of what secrets lurk beneath the surface of the ocean... or of the local pond. A few dedicated souls go so far as to trying to create their own homebuilt ROVs, many of them turning to what has become the bible on the subject, Build Your Own Underwater Robot and other Wet Projects. Gizmag had a chance to talk to the two authors of the book, and found out what inspired them to pursue such an unlikely project.  Read More

Rendering of the C-Explorer 5 five-seater submarine

Personal submarine maker U-Boat Worx has commenced development work on its C-Explorer 5 submersible. Designed to send four passengers and one pilot to depths of up to 100 meters (328 ft.), the latest member of the company’s C-Explorer line of submersibles features a full 360-degree acrylic pressure hull to give everyone on board clear views of the underwater sights.  Read More

A new algorithmic system that automatically identifies underwater sounds in real time has ...

It’s always upsetting to hear about whales beaching themselves, and one of the leading theories on the phenomenon suggests that it may sometimes be due to noise pollution in the oceans. Whales navigate and communicate via sound, so it’s entirely possible that human-introduced noises (such as those produced by ships, oil rigs, or naval navigational beacons) could confuse them, and throw them off course – it has even been posited that noises such as military sonar could deafen or kill them. In an effort to better understand the link between ocean noises and whale well-being, researchers from Spain’s Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) have developed a first-ever system that identifies undersea sounds – both human and cetacean – in real time.  Read More

One of two existing Deep Flight Super Falcon submarines, on display at Future of Electric ...

One thing was very clear at the recent Future of Electric Vehicles conference in San Jose – innovative design and development of electric vehicles is not restricted to the automotive sector. The case-in-point is the Deep Flight Super Falcon submersible. The two-occupant underwater vehicle was designed and manufactured by Hawkes Ocean Technologies, and is one of only two in the world. Like most of the other Hawkes vehicles, the Super Falcon is more like an underwater airplane than a submarine, soaring through the water column instead of rising and sinking. Company founder and Chief Technical Officer Graham Hawkes was a presenter at the conference, and showed us just how his submarine is able to “fly” underwater.  Read More

Researchers have discovered a new form of micro-organism munching away at the hull of the ...

Misfortune continues to take a bite out of the world's most famous ocean liner – literally. Twenty-five years after the RMS Titanic's ocean grave was discovered a few hundred miles off the coast of Newfoundland, researchers have identified a new bacteria feeding on the great ship's hulk. The scientists believe that the new micro-organism may work with a complex variety of bacteria, which inhabit a microscopic world inside porous mounds of rusty stalactites called rusticles, to break down metal into a fine powder.  Read More

Hawkes Remote's U-11000 ROV, which is designed to utilize Spider Optics technology (Image:...

Underwater Remote-Operated Vehicles, or ROVs, are used extensively in the oil and gas industry, in undersea engineering projects and, more glamorously, for doing things like exploring the wreck of the Titanic. These unmanned submersibles are linked to a surface support ship with a thick, cumbersome tether, which is used to pipe power down to the ROV as well as for communications. At the Future of Electric Vehicles conference, however, a new technology was presented that almost sets the ROVs free – the Spider Optics system.  Read More

The UNDERABOVE dual-lens camera concept bobs on the waterline to capture above and below w...

Waterproof cameras or underwater housings are great for capturing action above or below the waterline, but what if you want to capture both at the same time to provide a greater context for your underwater shots? That’s where the UNDERABOVE concept comes in. It’s a dual-lens buoy-style camera that bobs on the surface of the water positioning one wide-angle lens above the waterline and one lens below to let aquatic shutterbugs the best of both worlds.  Read More

The prototype of the next-generation AUV (Photo: Fraunhofer)

Engineers from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics are working on an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that would be inexpensive enough to use for industrial applications such as hull and dam inspection, yet independent enough that it wouldn’t require any kind of human control. Typically, more cumbersome but less costly remote operated vehicles (ROVs) are used for grunt work – they are connected to a ship on the surface by a tether, where a human operator controls them. The more technologically-advanced AUVs tend to be used more for well-funded research, but according to the engineers, one of the keys to creating “blue collar” AUVs is to overhaul the ways that they see, hear and think.  Read More

Dolphins were the inspiration for a new type of sonar called twin inverted pulse sonar (TW...

By measuring the differences between emitted sound pulses and their echoes sonar is able to detect and identify targets such as reefs, wrecks, submarines and fish shoals. However, standard sonar has limitations in shallow water because bubble clouds, which result from breaking waves or other causes, can scatter sound and clutter the sonar image. Inspired by the exceptional sonar capabilities of dolphins, scientists have now developed a new underwater device that can outperform standard sonar and detect objects through bubble clouds.  Read More

Tethys floating at the sea surface in Monterey Bay (Image: Todd Walsh copyright 2010 MBARI...

When it comes to exploring the murky depths of the oceans, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) have become increasingly important over the past decade. These vehicles generally fall into one of two groups: propeller-driven vehicles such as Snookie that can travel fast and carry lots of instruments, but are limited to expeditions of just a few days, and “gliders,” which can stay at sea for weeks or even months at a time, but are slow. Engineers have combined the best of these two approaches to create a new long-range AUV (LRAUV) that can travel rapidly for hundreds of kilometers, “hover” in the water for weeks at a time, and carry a wide variety of instruments.  Read More

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