JoshingTalk Submersible: Pt. 2, The Technology
March 20, 2013 by chdeist
This is the second in a three-part series of guest blogs by Josh Taylor, a UK based 22-year-old social entrepreneur who specializes in creative science and technology projects that inspire innovation and stimulate global awareness. You can read about his latest project in part 1 of this series, and on www.joshingtalk.com.
In my last post, I talked about my DIY weather balloon projects, which attracted the attention of Sir Richard Branson, and culminated in him challenging me to send something similar down to the ocean deep. The selected location for this mission is the Atlantic Ocean’s deepest trench – the Milwaukee Deep – and so I set out to find the equipment to accomplish the more than 8,000-meter dive.
I have been working alongside Trident Sensors, specialists in GPS navigation systems with a strong background in marine technologies. We have designed and are in the process of building the submersible to consist of a glass sphere, 7 inches in diameter and pressure rated to 10,000 psi. Inside the sphere will sit a camera, pressure sensor, iridium GPS and magnetised drop weight system.
- The camera is likely to be a GoPro or similar competition. This is because they are small but powerful in film quality and provide good storage space and battery life.
- Lighting will consist of LEDs with their own special casing, likely to be made of titanium to withstand the pressures. They will be placed outside the sphere to help illuminate the dark journey down to over 8,000 metres.
- The drop weight system will be triggered by a switch and will unlock when the submersible hits the bottom, increasing the buoyancy and allowing it to ascend back to the surface.
- The GPS will function by standard satellite communication. This piece is vital, as the specific coordinates will be a huge help when I am trying to recover a soccer ball in the middle of the Atlantic ocean….
As we are in the build stage at the moment, we are still finding that ideas and design options change as we aim for the highest probability of making this work.
There are many benefits that I’m bringing out of this project including raising awareness of plastic pollution in our ocean environment and trying to inspire others to have the confidence to explore this frontier. But perhaps the most unique aspect of the project is that nearly anybody can get their hands on the components of the submersible, without vast amounts of financial backing. I think it’s vital that people have the confidence to change the way we go about exploration, which is why all my projects use technology already available to the consumer market. I collaborate with businesses and use their resources in return for their brand exposure that I generate through my unprecedented projects, but even without their support, the cost of equipment is not exorbitant.
We are lucky to live in this day and age where technology is quickly developing to allow more people to make groundbreaking discoveries. If an amateur like me can compete with elite research institutions and multi-million dollar industries in underwater craft, it can only be a matter of time before the platform technology required for seasteading ventures becomes accessible to the average entrepreneur. The great work and enthusiasm shown here at The Seasteading Institute is proof that they are leaders in pioneering these activities.