In an age of data collection in which remote sensors line every pocket, car, and home, the world’s oceans are uncharted territory by comparison. As scientists and researchers seek answers to global challenges such as climate change and the need for more advanced weather forecasting, the oceans may soon host a massive network of interconnected telemetric devices.

According to NewsDeeply, “Organizations such as the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) and UNESCO’s Global Ocean Observing System have been leaders in deploying remote sensing equipment to build a global telemetry capability.”

Silicon Valley’s Liquid Robotics calls it the “Digital Ocean,” NewsDeeply reports. Sensors can be deployed on the ocean floor, submarines, unmanned aquatic vehicles, or even on wildlife to record environmental information such as latitude and longitude, water pressure, temperature, salinity, acidification, and gas concentrations.

Because radio waves don’t travel well underwater and acoustic transmission can’t send much data, these sensors need a middleman—a surface-level router capable of transmitting the collected information to shore via satellite.

Liquid Robotics offers such a router in the form of Wave Glider, an autonomous aquatic robot powered by wave energy and solar panels. In addition to its role as a network router, the Wave Glider can carry data collection sensors to a depth of 30 feet.

An oceanic sensor system would help scientists better understand climate change, more effectively monitor fish populations to prevent overfishing or endangerment, and more closely observe tectonic plate movement to predict tsunamis or earthquakes.

Photo Credit: Liquid Robotics

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Posted by Andrew Foerch