We as earth-bound humans have always tended to look to the stars as the ultimate place for exploration. But nowadays more and more people are gazing into the ocean with the same curiosity and they are coming up with new imaginative ways to improve our understanding. Here at BlooSee we are big fans of innovative ocean tech and it is no surprise that the team at Liquid Robotics has got our full attention. As NASA continues to send robotic rovers into space, Liquid Robotics is doing something similar by sending an unmanned vehicle more than 10,000 miles from San Francisco to Australia, powered only by waves and sunlight. It seems to be these days that the more we learn about the ocean as scientists, inventors, and enthusiasts, it becomes clearer how little we know actually know. Liquid Robotics looks to bridge this gap in information with their Wave Glider Technology.
Liquid Robotics deployed four Wave Gliders from San Francisco on November 17, 2011. Two bound for Australia and two for Japan. The longboard sized robots have collected terabytes of oceanic data, along the way. Papa Mau has already completed the journey to Australia and Benjamin is set to complete the journey early 2013. While Piccard Maru and Fontaine Maru both have encounter rudder problems that left them adrift, the Fontaine has been retrieved and taken back to a Liquid Robotics R&D center in Hawaii for inspection.
So how does a little ocean-robot glider travel from San Francisco to Australia over the course of a year? “A rising wave lifts the Float, causing the tethered Sub to rise. The articulated wings on the Sub are pressed down and the upward motion of the Sub becomes an up-and-forward motion, in turn pulling the Float forward and off the wave. This causes the Sub to drop, the wings pivot up, and the Sub moves down-and-forward. This process is repeated again and again as long as there is wave motion on the surface, even the smallest amount.” LiquidRobotics.com
These unmanned oceanic vehicles are available for sale to researchers, governments, and companies for a $100,000. The data they collected is available for sale on a subscription basis for a fraction of the cost, making high quality oceanic data affordable and accessible for interested parties. Companies like Liquid Robotics are ensuring that the future of unmanned exploration has a fighting chance against the Blue Frontier. With growing support for ocean exploration from industry icons like Richard Branson, Sylvia Earle, and the inquisitive people at Google, we might have a real chance of understanding the oceans mysteries and finding solutions to its problems. As always, we will keep our channels open for any news on enlightening new discoveries from the deep blue sea.