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Robotics Science

Remote-Controlled Robots Explore 'Lost City' 147

Posted by timothy
from the best-sort-of-place-to-explore dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "A large team of oceanographers is again exploring 'Lost City,' an hydrothermal vent field located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, which was discovered in 2000 and named like this because of the myth of Atlantis. But this time, the oceanographers are not on a ship. Most of them are in a room at the University of Washington in Seattle. And according to this article from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, they're using high-speed Internet connections to control robotic vehicles exploring the deep Atlantic Ocean thousands of miles away. Thanks to satellites, the remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) Argus and Hercules can transmit videos back to Seattle in real time. After analysis, the scientists can move the ROVs to specific areas of interest without having their feet wet. Read more for other details, references and pictures about this project."
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Remote-Controlled Robots Explore 'Lost City'

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  • reason #3402 why WA > all. :P

    Sorry, I'm just proud.
    • Re:go UW (Score:2, Interesting)

      Seriously, the UW has some bragging rights. The 'Cyclotron Shop' in north campus boasts the most powerful electromagnet on the west coast. It's powerful enough that one of the standard physics projects is to watch it levitate frogs in midair.

      Glad to see they keep trying new things.
    • You're also incomprehensible.
  • Thanks to the moderation war for the upcoming interview

    http://interviews.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/0 8/02/0345212&tid=109&tid=11 [slashdot.org]

    none of the other topics are being modded, forcing us to trudge through hundreds of troll posts and useless jibba-jabba.

    FIX THE MOD SYSTEM PLEASE!
  • up until the network gets bogged down with porn and Halo and CS
  • After a hearty discussion in AI class about the famous 3 robot rules, our professor related an interesting metaphor for why artifical sentience must be restrained.

    It seems that back in the late 1800's in America (mentioning this for non-U.S. /.ers) there was this saloon in the West that was kind of a run-down, ramshackle joint that was frequented by a few loyal patrons and not too many others. I think it was California, but it could have been Oregon or someplace similar -- well, the location isn't really

  • There was a quote that really struck me as odd and out of place in a science department.

    quote
    "This is how the science is going to be done," said Deborah Kelley, a University of Washington oceanographer. /quote

    I can't believe that a scientist would forego the adventure and excitement of actually visiting and investigating on-site the things she wants to learn about. Robots and video cameras and sensors have their place, especially in areas where it is still impossible to go. However, replacing the actual e
    • Sad but true, if you ask me.

      I do different kinds of support work at two astronomical observatories. Both are at 4200 meters, with air pressure of about 0.6 atmospheres - not quite the sort of place everyone can just hang around indefinitely, but most folks can handle it after acclimatizing.

      At the larger of the two, basically the only people on the summit at night are operators and technical support staff - all the observers and other scientists are about 3000 meters lower, down at headquarters.

      The smaller
    • Robots are cheaper, safer, and expendable. I hope that no deep sea researcher ever misses out on going to the bottom a few times, but that same reseacher can get 100 times the work done useing robots.

      It's the same for space travel. Just because it's romantic to have humans in space, doesn't mean it's a good idea to blow 90% of our space budget on LEO manned 'missions'.

    • I hope my tax dollars are not paying for someone's "adventure and excitement" when said person could use technology to get just as much work done (if not more) at a fraction of the cost.

      Now if said scientist wants to go be Indiana Jones on their own dime (or the dime of a private company), I'm all for it.
      • I am not sure I can agree with your position, though I agree with your sentiment. I don't think I implied that robots ought to be shunned in favor of sending humans to do a job. Robots indeed have their place, as do computers, calculators, and every other technology that makes exploring and researching more fruitful. But I do not think that technology is the be-all and end-all in science. It may be helpful to overcome barriers, but at the core it is humans who must make the final fateful decisions. And
    • In this case, what's the difference, really? If you go "there" in person, you're still looking out through a thick glass window (or, more likely, at a monitor), and manipulating the world around you with buttons, joysticks and other remote controls.

      The difference really is, when you're there in person you're only in control of one (large, cumbersome) exploring unit, you can explore for a lot shorter time (since so much resources is spent on keeping you alive), and you waste hours just traveling down, then u
    • You have obviously never actually experienced a 7 hour commute to the ocean floor to do a few hours work, followed by a 48 hour decompression period. And by the way, given that the pressure is several atmosheres, you're pretty much forced to do everything by remote control anyway, even if your are in a sub! Given a choice of sitting around 80% of the time doing nothing, or working by remote control, I think I would choose remote control. Unless, of course, we're exploring the Dallas Cheerleaders' locker roo
    • And if you don't have the choice?

      Note that he said "This is the way science will be done", not "This is the way I'd rather do science".

      I'm all for manned exploration of everything, but robots is pretty cheap.
  • After almost a decade of Internet broadcast exploration of Mars, it just makes sense to start exploring hard-to-reach places on our own planet with remote controls. Slap on some virtual reality goggles, and away they go. One small step for a scientist, one giant leap for man kind.
    • One giant leap in your lovelife too. Soon you won't have to do your wife in person, but use a remote controlled gadget. Slap on some virtual reality goggles too, and you won't see how fat she got, and she won't see how bald you got, since the two of you said 'I do.'
    • >it just makes sense to start exploring hard-to-reach places on our own planet with remote controls.
      Yes. I've been doing it for years.
      With my Logitech webcam that has a small maglite attached, I've used hi-tech technology to check for dust under my bed.
      • But what remote technolgy do you use to remove the dust when it's found, or is it purely an observatory mission? I'd recommend a remote controlled flat vacuum I forget what the brandname is but it's something like ROOVER.
        • I only have a single bed (size 1.5 comparing to a double bed, but still) so lying on it, using the long vacuumcleaner "rod", I get there easily. This way, combining technology and physics, I have acclaimed the possibility of cleaning dust from under my bed without leaving it.
  • Yet another Roland story posted by WHO ELSE? Timothy. Is Timothy ACTUALLY Roland? Well, I for one have NEVER seen both of them in the same room at the same time, so I think that about says it all...
    • For whatever reason everyone seems that bashing Roland is mandatory... Mostly because his site has ads. But so do most other sites out there, especially the big ones.

      Roland's stories are quite simply better quality than a lot of the stuff posted on Slashdot. If you hate him so much then just ignore the stories, quit bitching about it.
    • He doesn't seem as evil as people depict him to be after I read this [primidi.com].
  • But isn't Atlantis in the Pegasus Galaxy? :)
    • Maybe this is a future Atlantis that the Wrath finally got from the Atlantis team and flew it back to Earth, but knowing the Wrath do not have mastery of very fast hyperspace travel... they most likely screwed up flying the city to Earth by flying into an unstable rogue wormhole, yeah a big one,... and went back in time like many many kazillion years and crashed on Earth... then with it having all that time to rust, rot and decay... would look like old stone ruins perhaps... or maybe... nah... hehe
  • I guess a 2-3 second delay each way through the satellites is real enough for most people.
    • It is real time. There's a lag, but it's still real time. Even the Mars rovers are real time, but with a bigger lag... ;)

      Non-real time is stuff that idles/qets queued before commands get executed.
      • It is real time. There's a lag

        Then it is NOT real-time. You clearly don't understand the term.

        From The Jargon File: "Describes an application which requires a program to respond to stimuli within some small upper limit of response time (typically milli- or microseconds)."

        Good ol' Roland misapplied the term, or the article author did.

        • Re:not real time (Score:2, Informative)

          by JanneM (7445)
          The critical parameter is "upper limit". Hard real-time systems are fairly slow; what they have is that they _guarantee_ a response within some time limit. Every time. Soft real-time systems would typically have one limit stating the maximum allowable average response rate, and a second, higher limit stating the maximum allowable ever. "real time" implies that the system won't let the world "get ahead"; things will not get queued further and further afield without limit.

          Nothing in the concept of "real-time"
  • I think I need one of these in my house. Then I could explore the back of my fridge without having to deal with the smell.

    • A cheaper solution would be just looking to any flies .. if they come OUT of the fridge, its time to throw everything away, not just one thing ...

      Maggots next to this are ...............
  • Am i the only one who first thought of a direct link between the ROV's and Seattle when reading the arcticle? What made me wonder: H2O doesnt let EM-waves go very far. Thus a ROV has a cable connection to it's mothership. But this draft [noaa.gov] should make it clear how it really is.
  • Now crossing over a deep sinkhole... *bzzz*

    -Error 404, Connection timed out-

    AAAARGH!!

    Is that what happened to the first mars probe? :P
    • -Error 404, Connection timed out-

      Error 404 means "page not found". Connection timeout cannot, logically speaking, have an error number, since error numbers are returned by the web server, and connection timing out results in the connection to the server being lost, and the server cannot return error codes to a client it has no connection to.

      Is that what happened to the first mars probe? :P

      Nope, that was the blue ray of death shot by the green alien of evil in the red planet of war.

  • With James Cameron, or someone. I really dont remember. Oh and since the moderation system is as broke as Brooke Shields, Id like to give a big fuck all you guys because I have excelent karma.
    • *Pseudo-Mods +1 Insightful in his mind...*
    • How do you know it's broke? I guess slasdhot is becoming just a bit too much of a nuisance to the powers that be.
  • 70 comments, and NOT ONE has made it to a modlevel of 3.

    I wonder if this will be a first?

    Anyway, I really wonder what the big deal is. If you have a robot with a computer control, what's the big deal if that control computer is managed by an SSH connection?

    I spend ~ 6-10 hours per day managing a computer about 200 miles from my home, from my home, with a laptop, while watching my kids swim in the pool in my backyard patio.

    Other than the bandwidth involved with video, what's the difference?
  • Hit him where it hurts- in the pocketbook. I go to his site, find the biggest, fattest, jpeg he is hosting at the moment, and then load just that picture once every 2 seconds using Opera's "reload every ..." feature. Over 24 hours it can add up to a couple of gigabytes. If many people did this it would quickly put a stop to these Roland Slashdot shenanigans.
    • you wanna post a hyperlink? I'm too bored, and yet somehow not bored enough to bother go searching around his site.
  • It could work. Argus and Hercules, two lovable explorer/archaeologist robots. Argus sounds like the thinker of the two, and Hercules is the strong impulsive one. Could one of them carry a bullwhip?

    Indiana Joins, Robots of the Last Lost Temple of Atlantis Doom Crusade!

  • Do the lack of information about the actual dive site in the article, I went out looking for more information. You'll find more information here http://lostcity.jason.org/ [jason.org]
  • If they can get high speed internet in middle of the atlantic ocean but I can't even get DSL in most of my zipcode, its time to go.
  • Whenever I see an article like "$FOO performed over high speed Internet link" I always want to ask:

    Was this truly a high-speed Internet link, or was this merely a high-speed TCP/IP link? In other words, did the packets truly traverse the publicly accessible Internet (even if in the form of VPN traffic), or were they merely TCP/IP packets on a link that was completely separate from the publicly accessible Internet?

    (Note: I would consider packets that traverse Internet2 to NOT be "On the Internet" as Internet
  • I'm one of the few people it seems that feels there is more information to be learned from our own vastly uncharted seas than far reaches of space.

    I will never understand why we keep spending billions to remove trash from the ISS when we could be doing so much more here on Earth under the water.

    Is it just not as sexy as space? More discoveries and information have been gleaned from what little oceanic research is done as compared to space. This has always been one of those head scratcher issues with me that
    • If you consider "survival of the species" to be one of the goals of space exploration, then that should help you to understand. No amount of undersea science will help the species survive if we have any one of the "planet killer" scenarios come to bear ... that includes the man-made nuclear ones.

      I'm a firm believer that we need a permanent presence of humans somewhere off this rock. One on the Moon and one on Mars would be a good start. And I'm not talking about some rinky-dink "two people at a time" e
    • I'm one of the few people it seems that feels there is more information to be learned from our own vastly uncharted seas than far reaches of space.

      Is that you, Timothy Dalton? Are you still reading from the narrative script for "Deep Blue"?

      Don't fret too much. The military's been lavishing huge money (example: Glomar Explorer) on the ocean for the entirety of the cold war. Now that we've won that war (and are fighting its non-oceanic dregs and ghosts in the form of OBL, Saddam H. and so on) the potentia

    • I agree with your statement about the ISS, but the far reaches of space hold many secrets. Its not unlikely we could find another planet with an ocean with as much life as we can find in ours. We've explored most of our planet, documented most forms of life, etc. What we've learned is amazing. But we could learn just as much from 1 other planet, and there could be tens or hundreds or thousands or millions out there, its hard to tell.

      Some answers we may never get from life on this planet, but could you i
    • I completely agree, Time and money well spent could give us vital information about cold dark, high pressure liquid environments and the lifeforms that we have found to thrive in them. This information would have to be gathered in the exact same manner anywhere else, but millions of miles would have to be travelled first. And lets face it, even NASA aren't daft enough to send a high pressure submersible ROV to a different planet.
    • But you guys are missing the point. Once we have unlocked as much as we can on our own planet in a number of environments we can then better process and understand alien ones.

      So much of our oceans are unknown, I forget the exact percentage but I know it is very small. We go to space and spend most of our time looking at the underside of our own craft... we could have done that here. I've watched a good bit of NASA's coverage of the mission so far and it is terrible. 20-30 minutes of trying to get things lin
  • isn't this type of thing just going to lead to your lazy boss spending his entire day at the beach, and using a remote-controlled ASIMO-type robot to look over your shoulder in the office?
  • the Internet in this news?

    Any high-speed private network using about any protocol would do the same. And I haven't read any evidence the TCP/IP trafic is transiting on the Internet at all. And in fact, there is no need for it to.

  • Because on one hand, feats like this allow us to explore places currently unreachable by human beings due to the hostile environment.

    But on the other hand, feats like also gives more ammo to twits who claim we'll never need a manned mission to the moon, mars (or any other places like it) ever again...
  • I wonder how long until there is a "remote travel" industry? Imagine walking through a museum while sitting in your chair thousands of miles away. Or stepping out in traffic in England and getting virtually hit because you looked the wrong way.
  • The question is more along the lines of:
    1. what if there's a storm surface-side and the Net goes down?
    2. are telepresent scientists as effective and as collaborative as scientists on site?
    3. how much is too much - in other words, do telepresent scientists all trying to get scientists on site to "do them a favor and jiggle that thing there" become a nuisance for scientists who actually travelled the distance, or do they act as an aid by not getting caught up in the "on the spot feeling" and being more observ
  • But can they run Linux?
  • Steve Zissou must be quite jealous of this technology...

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