Headline Jan 20, 2015/ ''' PSSST : ROBOT SUBMARINES -THOSE '''

''' PSSST : 


''THE ICE DRAGON'', a modified Seaglider operated by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, has explored under the Antarctic ice shelf.

And another modified Seaglider,  the Deepglider, can plumb the depths down to 6km  (20,000 feet).

Teledyne's Webb Storm Glider, meanwhile, lurks in hurricane-prone areas, bobbing up to take  reading during extreme weather.   

Gliders are also quiet   -so quiet that, as one researcher puts it, you can use them to ''hear a fish fart''. This was demonstrated by a recent project run by the University of South Florida-

In which a glider successfully mapped the locations of red grouper and toadfish population on the on the West Florida Shelf from the noises the fish made.

Military applications are growing, too, America's navy, for example has ordered 150 gliders from Teledyne's Webb's sister company, Teledyne Brown, for what it calls its Littoral Battlespace Sensing-Glider programme.

To start with, these gliders will be used individually, to measure underwater conditions that affect things like sonar. Eventually, the plan is to link them into a network that moves around in a co-ordinated manner.

Gliders are also ideal for gathering intelligence. Having no propellers and no engine noise, they are difficult to detect. They can be delivered by submarine, and can lurk unseen for as long as is necessary.

Any shipping, whether on the surface or under it, which passes near a glider can be detected, identified and pinpointed without it realising it has been spotted.

Indeed, the American navy is now evaluating a design called the Waveglider, made by Liquid Robotics of Sunnyvale California, for submarine-detection work.

The third use, commerce, seems at the moment, to be smallest  -though that maybe because the companies involved are keeping quiet about what they are doing.

But Joe Dyer, the chief strategy officer at  iRobot, thinks that oil-and-gas exploration will be a big market for the firm's gliders, because they can survey large areas of seabed in detail at low cost.

ACSA, a French glider firm, has a similar market in mind.

In March, 2012, it launched the SeaExplorer, a streamlined, wingless glider with a speed of one knot    -twice as fast as American competition.

According to Patrice Pla, ACSA's marketing manager, SeaExplorer's lack of wings reduces the chance of its getting tangled in nets. its payload bay, meanwhile, is designed to take interchangeable modules:

So that it can hold whatever equipment is required. That means customers do not have to buy different gliders for different applications.

Nor is ACSA the only non-American in the field. A glider called  Sea Wing, for example, has been developed at the Shenyang Institute of Automation in China, by Yuan Dongliang of the country's Institute of Oceanography.

It was tested in 2011, and operated successfully in the western Pacific at the depths of up to 800 metres. Meanwhile, at Tianjin University, a team of glider researchers is trying to improve the machines endurance.

They are testing fuel cells instead of batteries and are also working on the idea of powering them with a thermal engine that draws its energy from the differences in temperatures between seawater at different depths.

Japanese researchers, too, are building gliders. At Osaka University, Masakazu Arima is involved in several glider projects. One is a small low-cost version ALEX  that has independently moveable wings. Another is a solar powered device called SORA.

Though  SORA  has to surface to recharge, its requirements are so modest that it does not take long to do so. It can travel underwater for months, surface for a few days then carry on. It can therefore stay at sea indefinitely.

Dr Arima's greatest interest, though, is like America's navy: that his gliders should collaborate. His plan to deploy  1000  of them in a network that surveys and measures, the oceans.

If it works, single spies of sea-gliding really will have become battalions, and the ocean fish will find themselves shadowed by shoals of mechanical counterparts.  

With respectful dedication to the Students of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Fish '''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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