After 350 Years, ‘Robo-mermaid’ Finds Sunken Treasure


An artificially intelligent humanoid robot has taken its first dip in the Mediterranean, and recovered a vase from a wrecked ship that once belonged to King Louis XIV.

The robo-mermaid, known as OceanOne, has been created by scientists at Stanford University to study coral reefs deep in the Red Sea, far below the comfortable range of human divers.

The submersible robot is fitted with human vision, haptic force feedback and an artificial brain.  It is roughly 5ft long from end to end, and its torso features a head with stereoscopic vision that shows the pilot exactly what the robot sees.

“Having a machine that has human characteristics that can project the human diver’s embodiment at depth is going to be amazing,” said Oussama Khatib, professor of computer science at Stanford, who piloted OceanOne on its maiden voyage.

OceanOne’s first expedition was to the wreck of La Lune, 100 metres below the Mediterranean.

The flagship of King Louis XIV sank in 1664, 20 miles off the southern coast of France, and no human had touched the ruins – or the countless treasures and artifacts the ship once carried – in the centuries since.

Using OceanOne, Khatib was able to recover a grapefruit-size vase from the wreckage and bring it back to the service in a recovery basket.

The vase was in remarkably good condition, though it reportedly showed evidence of its time underwater – the surface was covered in ocean detritus, and it smelled like raw oysters.

Khatib hopes that the robot will one day take on highly-skilled underwater tasks too dangerous for human divers, as well as open up a whole new realm of ocean exploration.

Disclaimer: This video is intended for informational purpose only.  This may not be construed as a news item or advice of any sort.  Please consult the experts in that field for the authenticity of the presentations.

Source: Stanford News


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