Most of the vehicles designed for intimate trips beneath the ocean waves, such as Uboatworx’s line of personal submarines
, are pretty complicated affairs, meaning you’ll have to put in some study time to get a grip on the controls or rely on the services of a trained captain to get you around – which can kind of defeat the whole intimate aspect of the trip. In an effort to give anyone the opportunity to swim with the fishes without getting their feet wet, Korean-based company Raonhaje has developed an electric-powered craft that is a little bit submarine and a little bit regular boat.
Mussels are remarkable creatures, not only in how good they taste steamed and buttered, but also in their ability to cling to rocks that are pounded by ocean waves. Their tenacious grip comes courtesy of byssal holdfast fibers that are secreted by the mussels themselves. Last year, scientists from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces analyzed these fibers
in an effort to determine how they were able to maintain their brute strength, while also giving slightly to avoid snapping. This week, scientists from the University of Chicago announced that they have been able to replicate the fibers, producing an adhesive that could be used on underwater machinery, as a surgical adhesive, or as a bonding agent for implants.
Ask anyone who keeps freshwater tropical fish to name the top five most exotic, bizarre fish available to hobbyists, and chances are the black ghost knife fish will be in there. Besides looking incredibly cool, these Amazon basin creatures have two rather unusual characteristics: they can sense all around themselves by generating a weak electrical field, and they can move in any direction, thanks to an undulating ribbon-like fin that runs along the length of their underside. In an effort to replicate that form of maneuverability for use in man-made submersibles, a team led by Northwestern University mechanical and biomedical engineer Dr. Malcolm MacIver has created the GhostBot – an underwater robot that moves via a knife fish-like fin.
The more things change, the more they stay the same... Just as readers of science magazines in the 40s and 50s liked to read about how jetpacks and passenger-carrying deep space rockets were right around the corner, so do today’s readers like to believe that car/boat/plane/helicopter hybrids
and extensive underwater resorts
are something they’ll soon be seeing. Those last two are examples of the “wouldn’t it be cool” ideas put forth by British conceptual designer Phil Pauley. While such fantastic visions might or might not ever see the light of day, they’re definitely inspiring to consider, and as the saying goes – more or less – “shoot for the moon and land in the stars.” With that in mind, here’s his latest idea: a family of boats that can fly, submerge, or sprout an extra deck.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.