I’ve seen these Wave Glider Robots in the news and they were highlighted during the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. Researchers have been using them to track and transmit the significant amount of information collected from tagged Great White sharks. These sea going robots are only the beginning for the change in the deep penetration of the ocean and sea domain. Being able to track and collect data autonomously from the ocean will unlock significant areas of additional exploration for the next several decades.
Clearly there are massive ramifications for my Oceanography counterparts in the direct sensors and data collection. But from a communicators perspective there are significant additional ramifications. Most individuals have experienced the lack of network penetration while sailing aboard their favorite Cruise-liner in a distant vacation hot spot. The wave gliders are already equipped with traditional 802.11 wireless, have GSM for further from shore operations, then shift to BGAN, and Iridium as a final communication capability. Obviously it would need to be slightly modified for mesh network use but if wave gliders were equipped with the ability to create a mesh network infrastructure it would be massively significant. By using wave bots programmed for station keeping they could create this physical mesh network. This would be similar to the much larger anchored navigational buoy’s which have been the maritime technology of choice for nearly a century.
Yet with the Wave Gliders ability to travel without fuel requirements, beyond that of solar and wave power both of which are fully renewable, these bots can become effectively anchored throughout the ocean. Imagine what could be collected, processed, and analyzed from that point? Much more than shark tracking – however awesome!
Don’t forget to grab the free iOS application: Shark Net – Predators of the Blue Serengeti
If you’re a fan of Shark Week like I am, check out the 4D Shark Anatomy Puzzle from the Discovery Store (Free Shipping on orders over $75 at the Discovery Channel Store, use code AFFSHIP75).
[via Liquid Robotics]