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Underwater

— Environment

ROV assesses thickness of oil slicks from underneath

By - March 17, 2015 2 Pictures
When people are attempting to clean up oil spills at sea, one of the key things they need to know is the amount of oil that's been spilled – among other things, this will determine the amount of dispersant or other agents that are used. In order to make that process easier and more accurate, scientists from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science have developed a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that does the job by measuring the thickness of oil slicks from below the surface. Read More
— Science

Underwater vehicle uses a balloon to dart like an octopus

By - February 5, 2015 1 Picture
When you inflate a balloon and then release it without tying the valve shut, it certainly shoots away quickly. Octopi utilize the same basic principle, although they suck in and then rapidly expel water. An international team of scientists have now replicated that system in a soft-bodied miniature underwater vehicle, which could pave the way for very quickly-accelerating full-size submersibles. Read More
— Science

Autonomous underwater vehicle looks for algae on underside of ice

By - January 8, 2015 3 Pictures
Early every spring in Antarctica, mats of algae form on the underside of the sea ice. These mats – along with bacteria that live in them – serve as a food source for zooplankton, essentially kickstarting the food chain for the year. Given that the ice algae plays such an important ecological role, scientists from Denmark's Aarhus University have set out to better understand its distribution. In order to do so, they're using a high-tech underwater drone. Read More
— Robotics

Omnidirectional underwater robot inspired by the cuttlefish

By - January 7, 2015 5 Pictures
Cuttlefish are fascinating animals, in that they use a pair of undulating fins to move forward and backward, turn on the spot, or hover in place. If you wanted to make an underwater robot that was highly maneuverable yet quiet and immune to tangled propellers, then the cuttlefish would be a good creature to copy. Well, a group of mechanical engineering students from Switzerland's ETH Zurich have done just that – plus they gave it an extra set of fins, allowing it to also move straight up and down. Read More
— Robotics

Sea turtle robot charges its own batteries

By - December 30, 2014 2 Pictures
They may be slow on land, but when they're in the water, sea turtles are fast and maneuverable – qualities that are also desirable in underwater robots. Additionally, the robotic equivalent of a turtle's streamlined shell could be stuffed full of electronic components and batteries. It shouldn't come as a surprise, therefore, that both ETH Zurich and the ARROWS project have recently created their own turtle-bots. Now, the National University of Singapore has announced its own entry in the field, that can self-charge its batteries while at sea. Read More
— Science

Acoustic Zoom could save dolphins' hearing while aiding geologists

By - December 27, 2014 2 Pictures
If you've ever been asleep on a yacht in harbor when a submarine tests its sonar, you know that underwater sound is anything but trivial – one ping can send you out of your bunk and across the room. Small wonder that the major navies spend a fortune studying the impact of naval and civilian sonar systems on sea animals such as whales and dolphins, who live in a world of sound. Scientists at the University of Bath have developed a more cetacean-friendly sonar system called Acoustic Zoom that is not only less disruptive to marine life, but also improves resolution beyond that of current methods. Read More
— Marine

The coolest water toys of 2014

By - December 22, 2014 50 Pictures
We looked at 2014's coolest land toys earlier this month; now we leave the shore in our wake and head out to sea. The year in water toys kicked off in a big way at Boot Düsseldorf 2014 in January and it ran strong the year through. In fact, we'd say the past year saw reveals and market launches of some of the coolest water toys in recent history ... everything from transforming boats, to seven-figure personal submarines to underwater jet packs. Read More
— Robotics

Autonomous sub explores the depths on its own

By - December 12, 2014 1 Picture
Although it's tempting to refer to vehicle in the photo above as an ROV – a Remote-Operated Vehicle – the whole idea behind it is that it doesn't require an operator. Created by a team at Japan's Okayama University, the MOS/AUV (Move on Sensing/Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) is designed to find its own way along the bottom of the sea or a lake, performing various tasks as it does so. Read More
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