Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

Underwater Robot Swims Free Thanks to Wireless Controller

View as: Print Mobile App Share:
AQUA Tablet

The waterproof AQUATablet allows computer scientists to cut the cord on underwater robots.

Credit: Technology Review

A team at York University has designed and built a waterproof tablet for wirelessly controlling the underwater robot AQUA, which is designed to collect data from shipwrecks and reefs. Divers can control the AQUATablet using toggle switches and on-screen prompts. They also can program the controller to display tags onscreen, similar to barcodes read by smartphones, and the robot's on-board camera then scans the two-dimensional tags to receive and carry out commands.

AQUATablet enables divers to command AQUA as if they were using a video-game joystick, the researchers say. AQUA is connected to the tablet by an optical cable in this mode, and the robot can provide feedback from its camera to the operator. In a totally wireless mode, AQUA acknowledges prompts by flashing its on-board light.

View a video of the AQUATablet controlling the AQUA robot.

"This is a huge improvement on [a robot] having to travel to the surface to communicate with its operators," says York professor Michael Jenkin. "We wanted to develop a system where we could create commands on the fly, in response to the environment."

From York University
View Full Article


Abstracts Copyright © 2010 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


No entries found

Sign In for Full Access
» Forgot Password? » Create an ACM Web Account