WE is an underwater monitoring system for monitoring wrecks and reefs


The UN has estimated that there is at least 3 million wrecks litter the seabed. In addition to these wrecks, 0.5% of the ocean floor is made up of coral reefs. While the wrecks are denser around the coral reefs (not coincidentally), that’s a lot of area to cover. Underwater video surveillance is further challenged by visibility, power transmission and data communication. That’s why it’s so impressive that US is able to provide underwater surveillance using standard equipment.

WE is a very clunky acronym for “Underwater Vision Monitoring System” and this name was coerced as a reference to the word “νους” (Greek for something like “mental activity”, but which has English connotations related to philosophy of thought and reason). Now that the etymology nerds are satisfied, we can move on to the goal of WE. It’s basically a submarine CCTV system this is useful for monitoring shipwrecks, the health of coral reefs, and even for a kind of virtual underwater tourism. Multiple networked US cameras can create a sort of Google Streetview style experience and their feeds can be stitched together to generate a high level image of part of the seabed.

The best thing about US is that it can be built using readily available off-the-shelf parts. In the heart is a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B (8 GB version). It is powered by solar panels floating on the surface or by a cable running to shore. It handles communication the same way, with a fiber optic tether or a floating wireless transceiver platform. Individual NOUS units can connect to a single platform or connect through a hub gateway.

US also artificial intelligence capabilities that help it keep running even when no one is around to watch the video streams. With the camera and on board sensorsit can monitor things like water temperature, turbidity, and the presence of marine life or human activity, such as an ROV (remotely operated vehicle) moving through the area.

For testing, the NOUS system was placed on the famous Alonnisos shipwreck from the Classical Greek period, which lies near the islet of Peristera in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Greece.


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