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Underwater

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

AQUA and a diver with the AQUATablet

Several years ago, a joint team from Canada’s York, McGill and Dalhousie universities created AQUA, an underwater swimming robot. AQUA has six flippers, three on each side, and uses them to paddle through the water – it’s somewhat reminiscent of a platypus, albeit a six-legged one. Using a different set of appendages, it can even swim underwater, then proceed to sort of slap its way onto and across dry land. All of this is very cool in and of itself, but the little robot now has a new ability: it can receive commands visually underwater, thus freeing it from cumbersome umbilical cords.  Read More

AUVs, ROVs key to bringing back new Titanic images and data

Last week the RMS Titanic, Inc. finally finished up an unprecedented photography expedition at the site of the sunken Titanic off the coast of Newfoundland. The team obtained high-definition and even 3D images which surpassed any photos taken of the wreck site to date. They completed the mission just in time too, with Hurricane Igor ushering them back to shore, like a cranky museum security guard scolding you for taking too many pictures.  Read More

The C-Explorer 2

Using the same technology proven in its existing C-Quester models, which can dive to depths of up to 100m (328 feet), Dutch luxury submarine manufacturer U-Boat Worx has announced a new line of exploration submersibles certified for diving to depths from 100 to 1,000m (328 to 3,280-feet). Named C-Explorers, the new line of diving machines are available in configurations for one to six passengers and are being marketed to scientists, research organizations, luxury superyacht owners, aquatic tourism ventures and private explorers.  Read More

One of the sound-generating carbon nanotube sheets

Two years ago, Chinese scientists coated one side of a flag with a thin sheet of nanotubes, then played a song using the flapping sheet-coated flag as a speaker. It was a demonstration of flexible speaker technology, in which nanotubes can be made to generate sound waves via a thermoacoustic effect – every time an electrical pulse is sent through the microscopic layer of nanotubes, it causes the air around them to heat up, which in turn creates a sound wave. Now, an American scientist has taken that technology underwater, where he claims it could allow submariners to detect other submarines, and to remain hidden themselves.  Read More

The Seabreacher X: admit it, you'd soil yourself if this came at you.

If you saw this thing on your neighbor's trailer, you'd laugh at him. "What sort of pretentious man-child buys a boat shaped like a shark," you'd scoff into your mugaccino, secure in the knowledge that you'd never shell out for something so ridiculous. But you might change your tune if you caught him down at the lake and watched him pulling 50mph (80km/h) barrel rolls, then diving under the surface and launching the thing 12-feet (3.6m) into the air like some sort of evil mechanical dolphin. The Seabreacher X is preposterous in theory, but in practice it's an adrenaline machine that can do things pretty much no other watercraft can – take a look at the video after the jump.  Read More

Oregon Scientific ATC9K actioncam

It seems like just yesterday Oregon Scientific was offering up its ATC2K actioncam, and now it’s all the way up to the 9K? They grow up so fast! Like its immediate predecessor, the ATC5K, the ATC9K features a built-in color LCD screen. Unlike it, however, the 9K shoots full 1080p HD, is waterproof down to 20 meters/60 feet (the 5K only goes down to 3 meters/10 feet), has a 130-degree field of view, includes a remote, and it can embed G-force data on your footage.  Read More

The Personal Submarine provides great underwater adventuring for two

If an octopus’s garden in the shade is where you like to be then this two-person submarine could be just the ticket. Capable of descending to a depth of 1,000 feet the Personal Submarine gives you and a friend a chance to check out coral reefs, shipwrecks and whatever other attractions can be found on the sea floor. Although, with its rather steep asking price you’ll either really want to be beneath the sea, or have a really large chuck of spare change laying around.  Read More

The stickleback Robofish (Photo:  Jolyon Faria, University of Leeds)

Scientists seem to like the idea of robotic fish, and why not? They have all sorts of potential applications including exploration, pollution-detection, communications, or just for quiet contemplation. A team from the University of Leeds, however, have created a robotic fish that can do something no previous effort has laid claim to – fool other fish into thinking it’s one of them.  Read More

A new system based on old technology may allow for chemical-free CO2-scrubbing onboard sub...

Submarine crews could be breathing much healthier air thanks to miniscule devices based on 62 year-old technology. Currently, carbon dioxide is removed from the air in submarines through a reaction with chemicals such as calcium hydroxide. Chemical engineers from England’s University of Bath are collaborating with mechanical engineers from Duke University in the US, to develop a chemical-free filtration system. It utilizes seawater and tiny folded wire mesh rings known as Dixon rings.  Read More

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