The ocean covers nearly 70 percent of the earth’s surface, but it’s not often thought of as being explored. The ocean’s vastness makes it a destination for many scientists and explorers who want to explore its depths. Additionally, advances in technology have allowed exploration in areas that were previously thought to be impossible. One of the advancements that have allowed for ocean exploration is the use of underwater drones.
Ocean exploration is entering a new age of discovery. The technologies, innovations, and hardware being used to conduct exploration are improving by the day. From discovering new species of marine life to mapping the ocean floor, deep-sea exploration is a thrilling new frontier.
THE ALL-IN-ONE SPEAKER, MICROPHONE, AND ECHOSOUNDER THAT “SPEAKS WHALE.”
For underwater acoustic studies of whales, ornithologists, oceanographers, and geologists use AN ALL-IN-ONE ECHOSOUNDER. The Echosounder from EchoLinker is a complete, all-in-one echosounder, speaker, and microphone that “speaks whale” – through an array of directional transducers cone-shaped (i.e., hemiplane) hydrophones that are mounted in a cylindrical housing. The housing with its transducers is submerged in the water.
THE AQUATIC DRONES
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are becoming more and more prevalent in our everyday life. Popularized by hobbyists, these floating robots provide a variety of uses and are increasingly being put to use for purposes beyond recreation. One key area of interest for these flying machines is the extreme depths, where navigating is difficult. One company, Ocean Infinity, offers an affordable drone that can dive into waters under 2,000 feet deep.
When it comes to diving, depth is everything. Following your dive buddy deeper into the water requires a lot more oxygen, and it’s easy to run out of air when you’re deep underwater. But thanks to affordable drone technology, you can experience the underwater world in a whole new way. That said, drones allow you to explore the dangers of the ocean in safety while giving you a unique perspective of the deep.
THE SWARMS OF MINI-ROBOTS
A swarm of mini-robots swims through a tunnel on the seabed and away from a remotely operated vehicle. Researchers at the University of Bremen in Germany and ETH Zurich in Switzerland used remotely operated vehicles to explore a tunnel filled with millions of tiny solar robots called bots or ‘barnacles.’ A team of researchers has uncovered a new species of the tiny robot, able to float, bob, and skitter through the water. These minuscule divers, dubbed “swimmerbots,” are much smaller than other robots that have been developed in the past, and they represent a new, unexpected design, according to the researchers’ report today in Nature. Each swimmerbot is less than half a millimeter long, with a body about a millimeter across and a head that measures about 10 micrometers across. It resembles a small jellyfish, with a hemispherical, umbrella-like body, which is connected by a tube to a sail-like tail about halfway along its length. The bot’s tail includes a flexible membrane covered in flagella, which are tiny, hair-like structures.
Well, ocean exploration is vital to the continued progress of ocean research, environmental studies, education, technology, and ocean tourism. A wide range of educational institutions, government agencies, and private companies have the funding and support necessary to mine the ocean for valuable resources. Some even have the means and ability to commandeer private vessels to explore uncharted waters. But even with all the research, exploration, and technological advances, there remains much to be done to find life on other planets and fully understand the workings of marine life.