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Biotech Transportation Technology

"Subhuman Project" Human Powered Submarine 103

overThruster writes "Inventor Ted Ciamillo and marine biologist Frank Fish (yes, that's his real name) are at work on a human-powered sub designed to cross the Atlantic. What's interesting is the highly efficient propulsion system which uses a 'tail' modeled after CAT scans of a dolphin's. From the article: 'Ciamillo and Fish say they knew they were onto something when the first prototype Lunocet, a piece of sculpted foam sandwiched between two pieces of carbon fiber, essentially swam by itself. When they released it at the bottom of a test pool, its buoyancy combined with its cambered shape generated a forward thrust that made it scoot across the tank.'"
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"Subhuman Project" Human Powered Submarine

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  • Re:Sounds fun (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:16AM (#26666489)
    RTFA and use your brain. It is actively powered normally. The comment about moving by itself is just to indicate how efficient the device is with even slow moving water passing over the tail (in this case, caused by the buoyant motion).
  • by sirwired ( 27582 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:16AM (#26666491)

    This is not a submarine. This is a boat that happens to float two meters below the surface of the water.

    Depth control consists of him swimming to the surface, filling a bladder with air, and then attaching it to the sub.

    And I'm not impressed with his claims that it practically "swam by itself." Getting something to move horizontally when provided with vertical buoyancy and travel is not exactly what one would call difficult, and it has nothing to do with how efficient the boat is or isn't under power.


  • by SebaSOFT ( 859957 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:24AM (#26666587) Homepage

    ...fishy here. (I'm sorry I had to do it) But won't he get tired to death before leaving the first 200 miles off-shore? Fishes give up migrations all the time, can't you?

  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jamrock ( 863246 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:37AM (#26666735)

    if they're going to call it a submarine, I'd like to see it go deeper than that.

    Out of curiosity, how deep does a submersible have to be able to dive before you'd classify it as a submarine? Every dictionary I've checked only defines it, more or less, as a vessel capable of operating submerged; there is no mention whatsoever of a depth requirement to classify it as such.

  • by JustNilt ( 984644 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:37AM (#26666737) Homepage

    Depth control consists of him swimming to the surface, filling a bladder with air, and then attaching it to the sub

    I didn't see that stated in the article. My impression was more that they'd use some of the compressed air in the scuba tanks, or perhaps a different dedicated tank, to accomplish this. The fact is that wet subs aren't all that uncommon.

    Personally, I'd call this one a submersible, rather than a submarine. A submarine is typically much more autonomous than this thing would be (TFA states he'd have a chase boat for air tanks, etc).

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