Over seventy percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. Yet, we mainly discover the land, since this is the part of the globe we inhabit. But since our body is not able to dive to the bottom of the ocean, we could send a super copy of ourself to explore underwater worlds. Stanford University developed OceanOne, a humanoid diving robot that creates a simulation of the underwater experience on land.
With regular scuba diving you have a limitation of 40 meters. To dive deeper you need a submarine which can go kilometers bellow sea level, though the closed space and maneuverability of the boats are big limitations. So the development of the OceanOne fills the gap between the sensibility of scuba diving and extreme conditions a submarine can handle.
With its stereo vision the OceanOne sends out realtime video to the land. Besides that, the humanoid diver is bimanual steered. The movements of the pilot are simulations executed by the robot. Meanwhile the robot hands contain lots of touch sensors, so you can recreate the touch on land. The simulation of sight and touch gives an extra layer of understanding of life below sea level, without physically going there.
The first mission of the OceanOne is the exploration of a shipwreck ‘La Lune’ from 1664 on the French coast. Until now no-one entered the ship since it is laying a hundred meters deep. Next destinations might take place on dangerous spots like oil-rigs or delicate coral riffs.