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Underwater

Seahorse tails are prehensile, like a monkey's (Photo: shellac)

The meaning of the word biomimicry is being devalued and inflated, to the point that any technology or design with the vaguest resemblance to something in the natural world tends to have the word unthinkingly applied to it. PR people in the automotive and architectural fields are now particularly fond of the word. So it's refreshing to be able to report on some research that has taken a detailed look at a natural phenomenon, the armor of a seahorse, and thought about how it might be applied in the field of robotics. The researchers think a similar structure of sliding plates could be used to improve robot arms used for underwater exploration and bomb disposal.  Read More

The shape that offers the best balanced and best handling stunt machine of the Seabreacher...

Though it fails to fit into any traditional man-made watercraft category, the Seabreacher X is remarkably comfortable in the water, turning quicker than anything made by man and happily skipping across the tops of the waves at 50 mph. This is not surprising given that it's based on a shape refined over 420 million years at the top of the ocean food chain – the shark. Give it more horsepower than Valentino Rossi's MotoGP bike, make it so light that it has the power-to-weight ratio of a Bugatti Veyron and you get the Seabreacher X. Its semi-pressurized hull enables it to tickle your adrenalin glands both above and below the waves, and it rates as the most outrageous boy's toy I have ever sampled.  Read More

A coralbot prototype that the research team hopes to further develop

Since humans are responsible for much of the damage to coral reefs, it makes sense that we should try and help repair them. That’s exactly what a team from the Herriot-Watt University’s Centre for Marine Biodiversity and Biotechnology is attempting to do with the development of underwater “coralbots,” which we covered last year. Now anyone can add their support to this worthy effort with the launch of a Kickstarter campaign that will help make the robots a reality.  Read More

Students at the Universities of Warwick and Bath have shared knowledge of submarine design...

Students at the University of Warwick have announced their intention to build a human-powered submarine to compete at that highlight of the human-powered submarine events calendar, the European International Submarine Races in 2014. The team of engineering students hopes that their vessel, already named HPS Shakespeare, will beat the current speed record for a single-seat human-powered sub.  Read More

The Blue Planet aquarium designed by Danish architectural studio 3XN is now open for visit...

Over the weekend, Northern Europe’s largest aquarium opened to the public eight kilometers (five miles) outside of Copenhagen in Oresund, Denmark. The Blue Planet aquarium features over 20,000 fish and other aquatic animals all housed within 53 aquariums containing a total of approximately seven million liters (1.85 million gallons) of water.  Read More

The 'Big O' adds a large LCD viewfinder window to the Outex weather and waterproof housing...

While DSLRs give photographers great creative freedom and image quality, the cameras themselves don't cope too well with being exposed to excessive amounts of sand, mud, water or snow – which can be a pain if you get your kicks from shooting things like extreme sports. Outex is a weather and modular waterproof housing system for DSLRs that works much like a drysuit for your camera, and can protect your gear underwater to a depth of 10 meters (33 feet). The new "Big O" adds a big Outex LCD viewfinder window to the system.  Read More

Tallinn University's Prof. Maarja Kruusmaa inspects one of the FILOSE robotic fish

We’ve already seen several underwater robots that mimic the swimming abilities of fish. The European FILOSE research project, however, is also interested in copying another feature of our finned friends – their lateral line. The result could be swimming robots that use differences in water pressure to navigate and save energy.  Read More

Grace may look more like a '50s space ship than a fish, but that's by design (Photo: Xiaob...

A new species of robot fish has been spotted in the Kalamazoo River in the state of Michigan, where more than a million gallons of oil spilled in July 2010. Developed primarily by Xiaobo Tan, an associate professor at Michigan State University (MSU), the robot's sensors detected crude oil at various sites along the river.  Read More

The DARPA project envisions deploying assets such as this earlier DARPA concept, the Corma...

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has seen the future of naval warfare and it’s falling upward. As part of an effort to reduce the logistics of sending equipment into trouble areas, the agency’s Upward Falling Payloads project is aimed at developing storage capsules capable of remaining on the deep seabed for years. These would contain non-lethal military assets that could be deployed on the spot years in advance and rise to the surface as needed.  Read More

Chief scientist Mark Baumgartner secures a glider (with its wings removed) after it was re...

Every year between November and January, endangered North Atlantic right whales are thought to use an area off the coast of Maine known as the Outer Fall as a breeding ground. They are “thought to” because the ocean conditions at that time of year can make it difficult to locate them. Two autonomous marine robots called gliders have now been used as a real time whale-detection system for researchers and to warn boats in the area to slow down to avoid striking the marine mammals.  Read More

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