Building the First Remote Underwater City

Photo courtesy of Flickr user One Thousand Words

“Building the First (Remote) Underwater City”: An interview with John Delaney, Professor of Oceanography and Jerome M. Paros Endowed Chair in Sensor Networks, and Director, Regional Scale Nodes Program, University of Washington; on the construction of the world’s first undersea broadband and power-supplied permanent remote sensing network; hosted by Michael Pfeffer, Managing Partner, Kolohala Ventures

John Delaney on Oceans: “It is the flywheel of climatic stability. It is the captain of the spaceship Earth.”

Oceanic rhythms are directly tied to plant (food) growth on earth, yet we don’t understand the oceans very well.

Technology is on the verge of providing us with a new ability to see the oceans. Complicated predictive models are essential to understanding the oceans.

The National Science Foundation’s Ocean Initiatives project will provide $700 million in the next years for an underwater city.

What will this look like?

Underwater mooring with elevator.

Seafloor colony (no people) of instruments connected to the internet, beaming measurements and info throught the internet in real time at 1.5 gigabit ps stream bandwidth.

Optical fiber, nanotechnology, telepresence, cloud computing, digital technology, ecogenomic sensors, and more will be brought together and allow us to dramatically accelerate our understanding of the ocean and connectivity with one another.

What are the implications for this system?

We will be able to witness events occurring on the seafloor in real time.

Autonomous underwater vehicles, parked in seafloor garages will be able to take samples of microbes in seafloor events like volcanos, transfer the sample to the surface, bring in an unmanned aircraft and transfer the sample to the lab.

Real time interaction with the ocean from anywhere on earth through telepresence.

We can develop games using system of real-time broadband. Science games for kids rather than grand theft auto.

The first is on the sea floor off the West coast. Over the next 20 years, there will be 20 or 30 of these kinds of systems on ocean floors across the world– all linked.