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Underwater

PLUTO off the coast of San Diego (Image: Paul Wedig, DHS S&T)

When someone mentions drug running, most people probably picture a person coming through an airport carrying a suitcase with a false bottom or with balloons stuffed up their nether regions. We don’t usually imagine things like submarines. Unfortunately, the South American drug cartels not only imagine them, but they build and operate them. To help combat these underwater smugglers, the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S and T) is operating their own drug-running submarine called PLUTO to develop and test a new generation of detection equipment.  Read More

Scientists are designing autonomous 'coralbots,' that would work together to rebuild damag...

Scotland may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of coral reefs, but the deep waters west of the nation are indeed home to reefs not unlike those found in the tropics. Unfortunately, a commercial fishing technique known as bottom trawling regularly damages that coral, putting the reefs at risk. Now, scientists are working on a possible solution to the problem – swarms of small, autonomous coral-fixing robots.  Read More

Scientists have created a solar-powered swimming underwater robot, inspired by the ocean s...

Previously, we’ve seen swimming robots inspired by the cow-nosed ray, the black ghost knife fish, and the jellyfish – to name just a few. Now, the engineers at AeroVironment have taken it upon themselves to replicate the mola (also known as the ocean sunfish), and the result is an ocean-going robot that gathers its own solar power.  Read More

The BlueComm system on the ocean floor (Photo: Sonardyne International)

It would definitely be an understatement to say that underwater research has its technical challenges. Remote-operated vehicles (ROVs) must be tethered to surface support vessels with unwieldy communications cables, deep-sea water samples have to be hauled to the surface for analysis ... or do they? Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution recently announced that it has partnered with two private companies, to market a couple of technologies that address both of those situations.  Read More

Hilary Bart-Smith's robotic cow-nosed ray

Sometime in the future, perhaps sometime soon, the robotic jellyfish, octopi and fish cruising the world’s oceans may have to make way for one other companion – the robotic ray. A team led by University of Virginia engineering professor Hilary Bart-Smith has created such a “creature,” in hopes that its autonomously-operated descendants may someday help us humans explore and study the sea, or possibly perform surveillance for the military.  Read More

The SE-35 is waterproof to a depth of 130 feet (40 meters)

The iGills SE-35 is not just another waterproof case for the iPhone, but instead promises to turn Apple’s mobile device into a fully-featured dive computer. The waterproof scuba diving case protects the iPhone down to depths of 130 feet (40 meters) and allows easy underwater usage via six buttons integrated into the design. Users also retain access to the iPhone's camera for underwater shots and on the software side, the SE-35 is offered with a complementary app which features navigation tools and torch, in addition to an automatic dive log.  Read More

Underwater model of a ship's propeller created using algorithms developed by MIT researche...

In addition to human divers equipped with sonar cameras, the U.S. Navy has also trained dolphins and sea lions to search for bombs on and around vessels. All these methods are expensive and can’t always deliver the best performance in all environments. Robots would seem to be the obvious answer and underwater robots have been the focus of much research and development in recent years. Now researchers at MIT have developed new algorithms to vastly improve the navigation and feature-detecting capabilities of these robots.  Read More

Stainless steel and aluminum are used to offer a more durable build

The GoPro HD Hero 2 comes with its own waterproof case, but that case wasn't tough enough for Marc Ellis. So, he built his own Hero housing made out of aluminum and stainless steel. We can't verify that it's more rugged in the field, but it definitely gives the GoPro a tougher, no-nonsense look.  Read More

Recent developments have rumored that the SeaOrbiter is set to start construction in Octob...

What once seemed science fiction may be becoming a reality. The futuristic SeaOrbiter ocean explorer, a concept conceived by French architect Jacques Rougerie, has been trying to reach fruition for the past twelve years. However recent developments suggest that the vessel is set to start construction this October, with possible completion in 2013.  Read More

The driSuit Endurance smartphone case allows people to access all of their iPhone's touchs...

People just love their iPhones ... sometimes to the point where they don’t want to stop using them when they enter the water. That’s why the driSuit Endurance was invented. It’s a water- and shockproof case for the iPhone 4 and 4S, that allows users to still take advantage of all of the phone’s touchscreen controls – even when underwater.  Read More

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