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— Environment

Europe joins race to store energy at the bottom of the ocean

"Imagine opening a hatch in a submarine under water. The water will flow into the submarine with enormous force. It is precisely this energy potential we want to utilize." This is how German engineer Rainer Schramm describes his idea for storing energy under the sea. By using surplus energy to pump water out of a tank at the seabed, the water is simply let back in again when there's an energy shortfall, driving turbines as it rushes in. The deeper the tank, the more power is generated. Read More
— Science

Underwater robot seeks out endangered sturgeons

The Atlantic sturgeon, which is one of the world’s oldest species of fish, can live up to 60 years, reaching a length of of 15 feet (4.6 meters) and a weight of over 800 pounds (360 kg). It’s also endangered, due to past overfishing for its caviar. In order to protect the sturgeon that are left, it’s important to keep fishermen from catching them accidentally. That’s why researchers at the University of Delaware and Delaware State University are calling upon satellites, and an underwater robot known as OTIS. Read More
— 3D Printing

Seahorse tails may hold key to flexible robotic tentacles

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
— Marine Feature

Video: Flight testing the Seabreacher X – the 300 horsepower bionic shark

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
— Robotics

Coral-repairing robots take a step closer to reality

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
— Marine

Students set sights on human-powered submarine speed record

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
— Digital Cameras

Big O brings LCD viewfinder window to Outex DSLR housing system

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