Window on another world

April 6, 2006

Call it underwater reality TV. McGill University researchers and their partners will place a camera on the ocean floor, 100 metres below sea level off the coast of Vancouver Island, to relay images in real time on the Internet to scientists.

The "Undersea Window" will offer a new and unique opportunity to witness a host of underwater phenomena such as plankton blooms, fish migrations and volcanic eruptions. Directing the camera installations by remote control, scientists will interact with the marine world in real time. Researchers will no longer have to collect data intermittently from stationary instruments.

McGill University is responsible for the underwater camera and for the software and Internet technology that will stream the images from the seabed to the scientists' computers. The school is partnering with the University of Victoria, which will be responsible for the deployment of the camera and for a remotely operated undersea vehicle that will be used for installation and maintenance.

Major financing is being provided by CANARIE, a non-profit corporation responsible for developing Canada's advanced Internet infrastructure supported by its members, project partners and the federal government. CANARIE, industrial partners and the University of Victoria are contributing a total of $1.3 million to the project.

The first components of the undersea laboratory were constructed last month. John Roston and Jeremy Cooperstock of McGill are, respectively, the project director and head of software development. Colin Bradley of UVic is the head of engineering development.

To learn more about "Undersea Window" and related projects, please visit: Undersea Window Project, VENUS: Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea

Source: McGill University

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