Researchers: Kimberly Eddleman, Sam Kelly, Catherine Wood, Lucia Martos Jimenez, Yao Yuan, Martin Brooke, and Tyler Bletsch
Duke University is using a large, heavy-lifting drone to drop sonar pods to map the ocean. Only 5 percent of the ocean has been explored, yet it feeds over 2 billion and provides more than 50 percent of our oxygen. We know more about the surface of Mars than we know about our ocean floor. Duke University students and researchers are constructing robots to investigate the deepest depths of the ocean. A team of 50 students is competing to map the ocean floor with an autonomous robot that can move across the floor and trace chemical signals, all while submerged 4,000 feet below the surface. The group is led by Douglas Nowacek, associate professor of conservation technology in the Nicholas School of the Environment, along with Martin Brooke, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Tyler Bletsch, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. The students have already spent three semesters working on the robot, which consists of deep-diving sonar imaging pods and a heavy-lifting drone. It depends on sonar signals to measure the surrounding ocean depth and map the intricacies of the ocean floor.