University at Buffalo researchers are developing a deep-sea computer network that may lead to improvements in tsunami detection, offshore oil and natural gas exploration, pollution monitoring and conduct surveillance.
According to Tommaso Melodia, project leader, underwater submerged network can provide unprecedented ability to collect and analyze data from the oceans in real time. “Making this information available to anyone with a smartphone or computer, especially when a tsunami or other type of disaster occurs, could help save lives.”
The framework Melodia and the team are developing would also enable a complete wireless network for underwater communication around the world – effectively creating a deep-sea internet.
The wireless networks we use rely on radio waves that transmit data via satellites and antennae. Unfortunately, radio waves work poorly underwater. So, Buffalo’s team said they have used sound-wave based techniques to communicate – just like Navy and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration do.
Funded by the National Science Foundation, the project is a collaborative effort that includes UB researchers Stella N. Batalama and Dimitris A. Pados, professors of electrical engineering; Weifeng Su, associate professor of electrical engineering; and Joseph Atkinson, professor of environmental engineering.
The technology offers a wide range of possibilities, as this could be used against organised crime engaged into undersea illegal activities, such as drug smuggling, “We could even use it to monitor fish and marine mammals, and find out how to best protect them from shipping traffic and other dangers,” Melodia said.
The researchers have already successfully tested the system in North America.
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