James Cameron's trip to the bottom of the Mariana Trench and his subsequent Twitter message from 6.8 miles deep made a lot of headlines two days ago, but the King of the World isn't the only one tweeting under the waves. A robot submarine from the University of South Florida has been programmed to send out tweets with its location and water-quality sample results.
The University has a robotic Tavros (The Autonomous Vehicle and Remotely-Operated Sensing) sub called Tavros02 patrolling the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The sub has a Twitter handle, @Tavros02, and the tweets it sends out are a little on the dry side, despite the watery environment they document. Here's a sample message from today:
Tavros02 is interesting for more than just its ability to tweet: it's a solar-powered sub. Unlike previous generations of underwater vehicles, which needed their batteries recharged regularly, Tavros02 is powered by solar cells, which means it can travel much further and potentially stay out in the water much longer than earlier autonomous underwater vehicles.
By offering realtime data on water quality without the need for a human operator, Tavros02 can also help non-scientists make decisions about whether or not to get in the water and monitor the health of the Gulf - but for now, the sub's tweets are too cryptic for the average fisherman, swimmer or armchair environmentalist. The scientists are working on creating a system that would tweet in plain English what the sub is seeing.
Check out video of the scientists discussing their creation below:
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