"BlueComm opens new doors and creates a new way of thinking about how to get data from the sea floor," Farr says. "Rather than recovering the BlueComm instrument to offload data, you can 'fly' an ROV close to a 'sleeping' BlueComm sensor package on the seafloor, wake it up, and tell it to transmit all of its data. Or you can suspend an instrument package from a surface vessel with optical communications on it, wake up the sea floor BlueComm unit, download all of the data, and put it back to sleep. This allows for data recovery using smaller ships and for longer sensor deployments."
Shaun Dunn, engineering business development manager for Sonardyne, says, "It was clear to Sonardyne that there was a perfect synergy between our capabilities at long-range acoustic communications coupled with WHOI's ability to communicate optically at extremely high rates over modest ranges. This unique combination unlocks a whole variety of new and exciting applications for subsea wireless communications that would not have been possible otherwise."
Olson, Sosik, Farr, and Ware are not the only WHOI scientists and engineers who've partnered with outside companies to commercialize their instruments. WHOI engineer Hanumant Singh created SeaBED Technologies in 2010 to manufacture and sell autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). The SeaBED AUV can fly slowly or hover over the seafloor at depths of 2,000 meters and collect highly detailed sonar and optical images of the seabed. It has been used to assess
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