The Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing and the Biomimetics Lab of the Institute of Bioengineering of the University of Auckland have successfully conducted a transglobal experiment Underwater distance communication - from New Zealand to Croatia. The experiment was conducted as part of the "Advancing Diver-Robot Interaction Capabilities - ADRIATIC" project, funded by the Office of Naval Research Global (ONR Global).
The goal of the trials was to test novel diver-robot interaction modalities developed within the project. The scenario consisted of a diver equipped with sensors embedded in the diving suit and a gesture recognizing diving glove in a pool in Auckland, and the D2 AUV in the Laboratory for Underwater Systems and Technologies - LABUST pool in Zagreb collaborating together. The diver used the smart diving glove to recognize gestures and send them acoustically to a poolside PC. The commands are then sent over a http server to a poolside PC in Zagreb and again translated to acoustic commands transmitted to the underwater vehicle. The vehicle executed simple movement actions mapped to these commands. The underwater cameras, as well as the cameras mounted in on the vehicle were streamed to Auckland to provide situational awareness, and the diver received a haptic feedback through the glove when a gesture was recognized and sent successfully.
Considering the distance between ABI and LABUST laboratories and the current travel and collaboration restrictions in force, it was practically impossible to do a joint experiment in person. Introducing existing and new technologies towards enabling such remote collaboration experiences promotes equipment and infrastructure sharing and help crossing barriers standing in the way of science.
The experiment Remote Underwater Communication - from New Zealand to Croatia is available here.