Underwater Robot Dreams- Exploration of the Unknown

Posted by RobotStop on December 24, 2015

Technological Advances

Scientific advances have steadily contributed to an increased understanding of the planet Earth. Because the ocean covers about two-thirds of our planet, it is of paramount importance that we explore as much of it as humanly possible. Well, now, as robotically possible.

According to engineers at Stanford University, only 5% of the ocean has been seen by human eyes. As for the past decade, robots have been our eyes when we couldn’t see. They have played a significant role in developing the understanding of our vast oceans. In a recent interview with Scott Stoneburner, President of RobotStop.com, he said, “We are just now breaking the surface in regards to advancement in underwater robotics. I personally know of several companies that are innovating in this market. This is an exciting time to be alive.”

This unseen part of our planet contains vital information for various scientific discoveries. For example, a biologist could gather information about the fauna and flora that survive these conditions. The researchers gain valuable Information pertaining to the patterns of animal migration throughout the oceans. Additionally, with the help of these robots, Geologists can better understand the tectonics by analyzing the movement of the plates that make up the underwater terrain.

Underwater robots had truly humble beginnings. They started off primarily as remote controlled machines that could collect valuable information for various studies. By monitoring pockets of the ocean, they could accomplish tasks such as tracking the health of fisheries and surveying marine habitats. These early robots were very effective at carrying out tedious and time consuming tasks that were often difficult for people.

In the past few years, there has been a new wave of autonomous robots that have been developed. The deployment of these autonomous robots underwater is an attractive innovation because they can more efficiently navigate and stay out exploring for longer hours without the guidance of a human. Early in March of 2015, a team of engineers at MIT tested an autonomous mission-planning system during a research cruise off the coast of Australia. Their research alongside many others have helped pave the way.

Underwater Dreams

A teacher in May 2004, offered four students the option of learning marine science through textbook lessons or by building an underwater robot, the students chose the hands-on approach.

This decision certainly revealed the true power of hands-on learning and it also created the opening scene for a Hollywood movie.

“I had nothing to do. I felt like a loser,”one of the students, Lorenzo Santillan, told an Arizona newspaper in 2008. Without the robot club, “I would have probably just dropped out of high school.”

As it turns out, all of the students graduated from high school. “All these kids have taken what they’ve learned and decided that they can be leaders in their community,” the robotics teacher, Fredi Lajvardi, says in the documentary film Underwater Dreams.

The documentary follows the four students who not only created an underwater robot called “Stinky” but they also founded a robotics team at Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix Arizona so that their high school can compete with neighboring high schools in robotics competitions for years to come.

I highlight this story to point out that it is not only the MIT graduates, and the PhD’s who are truly making an impact on the future our world. Anyone with an idea and the fortitude to carry it through can make an impact. The future is ours. What will you create?

UNDERWATER DREAMS — Trailer — 2–2014 from 50EGGS on Vimeo.

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Originally published at robotstop.com.

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