Humanoid Robotic Diver Recovers Treasures from Abandoned Shipwreck
The concept for Stanford University's humanoid robotic diver called OceanOne was born from the need to study coral reefs deep in the Red Sea, far below the comfortable range of human divers. No existing robotic submarine can dive with the skill and care of a human diver, so OceanOne was conceived and built from the ground up, combining robotics, artificial intelligence, and haptic feedback systems. Roughly five feet long from end to end, its torso features a head with stereoscopic vision that shows the pilot exactly what the robot sees, and two fully articulated arms. The 'tail' section houses batteries, computers, and eight multi-directional thrusters. Each fully articulated wrist is fitted with force sensors that relay haptic feedback to the pilot's controls, so the human can feel whether the robot is grasping something firm and heavy, or light and delicate. Eventually, each finger will be covered with tactile sensors. A recent expedition to the wreck of La Lune - the flagship of King Louis XIV which sank in 1664, 20 miles off the southern coast of France - was OceanOne's maiden voyage. No human had touched the ruins or the countless treasures and artifacts the ship once carried in the centuries since, and OceanOne recovered a grapefruit-sized vase.