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Underwater

Marine

Volkswagen's caged Beetle Convertible swims with the sharks

A convertible shark cage may be a complete oxymoron, but Volkswagen and partners have built one for Discovery Channel's upcoming Shark Week. More than just a stationary exhibit, the shark cage is a functioning watercraft with impressive capabilities. Gizmag talked to Luke Tipple, the marine biologist, shark diving expert and TV personality responsible for building and driving the craft, to find out more about what it's like to scooter around shark-infested waters in a skeletal Beetle ragtop. Read More

Marine

SAMS wetsuits make surfers look less tasty

Worldwide, around 100 people are attacked by sharks each year. The anxiety this produces isn't helped by the fact that traditional black wetsuits make divers and surfers look like seals, and it’s not a good idea to dress up as a shark’s favorite snack before going into the water. Australian company Shark Attack Mitigation Systems (SAMS) is developing wetsuits designed to deter shark attacks rather than ring the dinner gong by using disruptive patterns that sharks have trouble seeing, or that make them think twice about attacking. Read More

Robotics

Naro-nanin educational robot fish takes a dip

A new breed of robot fish that is both relatively inexpensive and highly customizable is teaching students between the ages of 10 and 18 about technology and biology. It's the latest in a line of biologically-inspired underwater robots developed within the naro (nautical robots) project at ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), which has previously developed robots based on tuna fish and sea turtles.Read More

Robotics

Giant Crabster robot to explore shipwrecks and shallow seas

The Japanese spider crab is about to lose its title as the world's largest crustacean thanks to a new robot developed in South Korea. For the past two years researchers at the Korean Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) have been working on a giant robot crab that is about the size and weight of a Smart car. This summer it will help scientists explore wrecks below the sea, weathering harsh tidal currents rushing over one and a half meters per second.Read More

Automotive

James Bond’s submersible Lotus Esprit going under the hammer

While the pursuit to develop flying cars and Star Warsian land-speeders rages on, the dilemma around developing a functioning underwater vehicle was solved decades ago … by the British Secret Service's Q Branch. In the film The Spy Who Loved Me, James Bond escapes from the obligatory horde of bad guys by driving one very versatile white Lotus Esprit into the ocean. That fully submersible vehicle, is now set to go to auction this September. Read More

Robotics

Unleash the Kraken! Robot octopus learning to swim

The octopus is a natural escape artist. It can squeeze its soft body into impossibly tight spaces and often baffles aquarium workers with its ability to break out of tanks. These abilities could be very useful in an underwater robot, which is why the OCTOPUS Project, a consortium of European robotics labs, is attempting to reverse engineer it in all its tentacled glory. Now researchers from the Foundation for Research and Technology (FORTH), in Hellas, Greece are learning how the robot might use its tentacles to swim.Read More

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

Robotics

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

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