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Engineering Professor Explores Underwater Wireless Communications

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bow and railing of The RMS Titanic

Northeastern University professor Milica Stojanovic says the discovery of the Titanic in 1985 underscored the need for underwater wireless communications technology. "When the Titanic sank, people knew approximately where it went down, but it wasn't until Woods Hole designed that small robotic vehicle that we knew the truth," Stojanovic says. "When that robot was sent down, it was attached to a long cable connecting it to a surface ship. The cables are very expensive and heavy, and they limit the movement of the robot."

Professor Stojanovic says there are applications that would benefit from the ability to communicate underwater without cables, including pollution control, climate recoding, ocean monitoring for natural disturbances, and the detection of objects on the ocean floor. She says that communicating through water is difficult, as water slows down the signal propagation and creates background noises and echoes, all of which she is working to solve. Stojanovic is trying to create clearer signals through "equalization," as well as developing underwater networks that mimic the communication networks on land.

From Northeastern University News
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