Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wiring the ocean: researchers build world’s first permanent undersea broadband remote sensing network

From SmartPlanet

Oceanographer John Delaney is building an underwater network of high-definition cameras and sensors to turn the world’s oceans into a massive interactive lab.

Delaney and a University of Washington research team are implanting robotic sensor arrays along the Juan de Fuca Ridge and other ocean sites — on the ocean floor and throughout the water column — that link to the Internet using submarine electro-optical cables.

The mission: to build a cabled network of deep-ocean sensors that will study, over time and space, the way the ocean’s complex processes interact.

In essence, Delaney and his team are networking the ocean — for the benefit of ocean science.

In a TED talk, Delaney explains how the system will document and measure previously-inaccessible phenomena such as erupting volcanoes, migration patterns, submarine slumps, undersea earthquakes and storms.

The hope? That all of that data will lead to richer computer models of ocean behavior.

Or as Delaney puts it: “The system is the whole planet.”

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