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Underwater

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

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

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