York University underwater robot featured on Discovery Channel


An invention that was designed and built by York University researchers was featured on the Discovery Channel show Daily Planet. AQUA, a waterproof robot with flippers, was designed to be used wirelessly in order to collect data from shipwrecks and reefs.

The robot, which was a joint project of York, McGill and Dalhousie universities, is a solution to a challenge that many scientists have faced.

"Having a robot tethered to a vehicle above water creates a scenario where communication between the diver, robot and surface operator becomes quite complicated," said Michael Jenkin, professor in York's Faculty of Science and Engineering and co-author of Swimming with Robots: Human Robot Communication at Depth. "Investigating a shipwreck, for example, is a very delicate operation and the diver and robot need to be able to react quickly to changes in the environment."

The watertight robot can be controlled with toggle-switches and on-screen commands.

"A diver at 60 feet can actually teleoperate AQUA 30-40 feet deeper," Jenkin added. "Needless to say this is much easier on the diver, physically, and much safer."

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