Highlights from Interbike 2014

Underwater

The Hyper-Sub is at home both above and below the waves

If you’re still a little strapped for cash and can’t afford a powerboat and a submarine, then you might want to consider this cross between the two - the Hyper-Sub. On top of the water it boasts speeds of 40 knots with a range of 500 surface miles thanks to twin 440 horsepower inboard Yanmar diesel engines and a 525-gallon fuel tank, while underwater it can dive to depths of 250 feet using an electric over hydraulic self-recharging dive system.  Read More

The SOLO-TREC autonomous underwater vehicle is deployed off the coast of Hawaii on an ocea...

We’ve covered a few underwater autonomous robots designed to make exploring the murky depths easier here on Gizmag, such as Snookie and the Talisman, but none that can generate its own power – until now. NASA, US Navy and university researchers have successfully demonstrated the first underwater vehicle to be powered entirely by natural, renewable, ocean thermal energy. Scalable for use on most robotic oceanographic vehicles, this technological breakthrough could usher in a new generation of autonomous underwater vehicles capable of virtually indefinite ocean monitoring for climate and marine animal studies, exploration and surveillance.  Read More

WHOI's low-frequency broadband acoustic system being deployed

It will be like going from black-and-white television to high definition color TV - that’s how researchers at America’s Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have envisioned an upcoming leap forward in undersea acoustic imaging. Tim Stanton and Andone Lavery have developed and tested two broadband acoustic systems that leave conventional single-frequency systems eating their dust... or water droplets, or whatever. Developed over 20 years, the new technology could revolutionize oceanography, and also has huge commercial and military potential.  Read More

Snookie the under water robot features an artificial lateral line sensory organ to detect ...

Currently robots need to be precisely programmed for each step of a given task, but the move towards autonomous systems will see robots reacting intelligently to their surroundings and performing tasks largely independently. To do this they will need to rely on their own sensory perceptions. However, in harsh environments, laid low by fumes, dust, water, high temperatures or low visibility, new senses are called for – perhaps even sensory organs that humans lack. Researchers have fitted an underwater robot with an artificial sensory organ inspired by the so-called lateral line system found in fish and some amphibians that lets it orient itself in murky waters.  Read More

An artist's conception of how the optical modem could function at a deep ocean cabled obse...

Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV’s) are at the forefront of new discoveries and important research in the ocean depths, but they are still hindered by cumbersome cables that connect them to their support ships at the surface. It brings back memories of the days before radio-controlled toys, when our remote-control cars had wires coming out of them that ran up to the controllers in our hands. Now, thanks to scientists and engineers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), ROV’s may soon be set free from their tethers. The researchers have developed an undersea optical communications system, which they describe as “a virtual revolution in high-speed undersea data collection and transmission.”  Read More

U-Boat Worx Caribbean base for private submarine rentals

Dutch company U-Boat Worx builds two- and three-person submarines for private and tourist use and has been doing nice business catering to the superyacht owners of the world for the last five years. Recognizing that its aspirations are greater than the number of independently wealthy superyachters, the company has set up a submarine center on the Caribbean island of Aruba aiming to “break open the luxury tourist submarine market.” “By catering to tourism ourselves, we are showing third parties, such as luxury resorts, hotels and cruise companies, what the opportunities are", says U-Boat Worx founder Bert Houtman  Read More

The Olympus PEN E-PL1 features a pop-up flash a new Live Guide mode

Olympus is starting 2010 with a herd of first-quarter camera releases including a new PEN DSLR, the E-PL1, and two new Stylus Tough models, the 8010 and the 6020. All three models feature one-button HD video capability and image stabilization, plus additional tweaks and features. In addition, Olympus has also announced optional underwater cases for each of the cameras.  Read More

Scanning electron micrograph of an artificial neuromast

When you think about it, fish can do some pretty remarkable things. They can find prey in murky water, travel in tightly-packed schools without colliding, they always know what depth they’re at, and they manage to avoid being swept away by invisible underwater currents. They’re able to do all of these things and more thanks to their lateral lines - rows of tiny hair cell clusters that run down each side of their bodies. These clusters, known as neuromasts, pick up on changes in water pressure and transmit that information to the brain. Now, researchers in Illinois have created an artificial lateral line, that could someday be used to keep man-made submersibles out of harm’s way.  Read More

The Necker Nymph submersible

It seems that Sir Richard Branson's quest to conquer unexplored frontiers isn't limited to space tourism.The Virgin boss's latest acquisition is a DeepFlight three-person aero submarine that "flies" through the briny deep using the positive buoyancy system developed by Graham Hawkes. Christened Necker Nymph, the flying sub will find a home on Branson's 74 acre private island in the British Virgin Islands where it will launch from shore as well as operating from the luxury 105 foot catamaran Necker Belle - just add a quiet US$25,000 to the weekly hire price tag.  Read More

NEPTUNE Canada: A rock fish at Folger Pinnacle

Deep-sea research is great and everything, but man, those submersibles can get pretty cramped. The other, bigger problem is that it requires going off and traveling on a ship, which is costly and can therefore only be done a few times a year. Fortunately, however, there’s now a way of obtaining real-time undersea data without leaving your office. NEPTUNE Canada, the world’s largest and most advanced cabled seafloor observatory, officially started going live to the Internet last December, giving anyone with an Internet connection free access to what will become an absolute mountain of data from the bottom of the sea.  Read More

Looking for something? Search our 28,500 articles