For even the most experienced and skilled deep sea divers, plunging into the water to search the ruins of a sunken ship poses the gravest danger. Many have lost their lives on such endeavors, because no matter how many safety precautions one takes, it is a dangerous journey below the depths.
So what if we could somehow find a way to keep all of the adventure and discovery of a deep sea search, but without the risk to human life that comes with it? That’s just what Standford University has been working on, with their humanoid robot designed to take the place of a person on those dangerous shipwreck explorations.
The robot, which looks like the world’s friendliest hockey goalie, is called OceanOne, and it uses artificial intelligence, as well as a haptic feedback system, which is a tactile communication system that allows the human controlling the robot from safely above to feel the same things that OceanOne is feeling in the water. It’s essentially a virtual deep sea dive, only the search is very real.
And this “human-friendly” guy can go very deep — thousands of meters — but he only had to go 100 to help researchers explore the 17th century French ship, Le Lune, which wrecked about twenty miles off the coast of France. Since its two arms and haptic feedback system allows the exploration team to delicately handle any valuable artifacts that may be lurking in the water, he’s particularly helpful looking through the remains of a ship that belonged to Louis XIV himself.
We are a planet of water (roughly 70%), and humans have spent thousands of years losing things to the ocean floor. It’s unimaginable what is sitting down there, waiting for us to find it. Now we have some help to let us do that without the risk of human life.
Where does OceanOne rank among your favorite robots? Dive into the comments below to let us know.