Underwater diving, as much fun as it may be to some, is definitely an extremely dangerous endeavor. Particularly if diving for a purpose other than fun, there are plenty of ways to get injured and even to die while scuba diving. So as with almost everything these days, scientists are looking for a way to make it safer.
And a team of researchers actually managed to accomplish that, as their humanoid scuba diving robot explores the ocean deep. It can do this remotely, controlled from anywhere by any person receiving a small amount of training. The team is very excited about the prototype and can’t wait to keep improving it.
King Louis XIV’s wrecked flagship
Named OceanOne, the robot was taken out for a test dive in the wreckage of La Lune, the wreckage of King Louis XIV’s flagship. The ship sank in 1664 and has been lying one hundred meters below the Mediterranean ever since. This was the first time anyone has ever set their eyes on the vessel ever since it sank.
The entire procedure was nothing short of awesome. Oussama Khatib, the man behind OceanOne, was the one that piloted the robot as it dove from the team’s ship to the wreckage, all from the comforts of his seat. Using the many gadgets and technologies with which the robot is equipped, Khatib recovered a vase from the wreckage and successfully brought it back on the ship.
The fact that this is the first time anyone has ever laid their eyes on the sunken ship shows OceanOne’s huge amounts of potential. The professor was able to retrieve the priceless vase thanks to the many features with which the robot is equipped for this exact type of situations.
So let’s see exactly what OceanOne can do. First of all, it looks like a robotic mermaid… kind of. About five feet long in total, the “tail” end is made up of a section that houses its batteries and eight multi-directional thrusters. These thrusters don’t only allow it to move freely through the water, but it also allows for its arms to remain steady at all times.
Speaking of its arms, both of them, as well as the hands, are equipped with force sensors relaying haptic feedback to the person controlling it. This way, they can tell how heavy an object is, how fragile it is, and they can also maneuver it perfectly without the slightest risk for it breaking.
OceanOne was designed with one thing in mind – dangerous underwater missions. Ranging from wreckage exploration to conducting tests on coral reefs, the machine can do what no man has done before, with minimal risk to both itself and its wielder.
In a very nice example of what it can do, OceanOne got its “tail” stuck between two cannons at one point while exploring the wreckage. All professor Khatib had to do was to move his arms a little bit, performing a sort of push-up, and the robot did the same, getting free of its impromptu trap.
Image source: YouTube