Liquid Robotics Introduces Wave Gliders

Published: 15 July 2011 y., Friday

Liquid Robotics has launched remote controlled robots, called Wave Gliders, which traverse across oceans and collect oceanographic data. The gliders would track all kinds of data related to oceans like wave heights, whale songs and ships present nearby.

 The wave glider consists of a floating section measuring 6 ft wide and 10 ft long made up of solar panels, battery and sensors. There is another similar glider attached to this glider, which is placed 23 ft below the float. The glider placed deep inside the ocean is attached with a rudder for navigation purposes.

Robert Hine, who invented the device, had originally built it for one of his friends who wanted to study whale songs. He began working on the glider in 2005, trying various electric engines without much success. He later came up with an approach of harnessing the energy from waves, similar to the design of a sailboat. The wings of the gliders tap energy from the up-down motion of the waves to propel the device forward at a speed of 1.5 miles per hour. The operators communicate waypoints to the robot through the satellite, then uses GPS signals to follow the programmed route.

They are capable of recording ocean and air temperature, which would be useful in predicting storms. The data such as wave currents and wave heights can be useful for shippers in deciding the safest route for their ships. Oceanographers can monitor aquatic life with the help of the glider.

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