University of Buffalo’s 40Lb sensor system. (via UofB and BBC)
Wi-Fi signals can be found almost anywhere: in large cities, rural towns and even in the mountains (next to ski resorts and ranger outposts). You can even find them on the ocean, especially on cruise ships, however you will not find them under the ocean. Even though radio waves can penetrate water to a certain degree they have very little range (unless you have access to the US Navy’s ELF frequencies), which ultimately negates watching Netflix at 20-fathoms. A research team from the University of Buffalo is developing a way to overcome the problems surrounding spotty Wi-Fi service found beneath the waves. Actually, the team is hoping to create an underwater internet network for the purposes of improved tsunami detection, submerged oil and natural gas exploration, military surveillance, pollution monitoring and other applications.
Instead of submerging Wi-Fi devices encased in waterproof enclosures, the system will work similar to tsunami-detection networks. They work by using sensors on the ocean that send SONAR-based data to buoys on the surface, which then send out that data using a radio-based signal. The application doesn’t rely on the technology itself in creating an underwater network but rather relies on the different collection methods used by various companies and organizations. It’s also in that regard that the researchers are aiming to create a shared standard that would allow communications to be used by anyone. To find if their system could be feasible, the team dropped two 40Lb. weighted sensors into Lake Erie. They then typed a command into a Wi-Fi enabled laptop and sent the command to the sensors, which was then successfully ‘pinged’ back to the laptop after bouncing off a nearby concrete wall. As to when their system could be implemented into existing or newly designed submerged systems is unknown, however their platform is ‘sound’ and could be installed sometime in the near future.
See more news at: