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Triton’s Titanic Explorer will reach new depths for luxury bubble-subs

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Florida’s Triton has been making high-end civilian submarines for more than a decade now, dividing its sales between scientific explorers, commercial and cinematography clients, and ultra-rich superyacht owners looking to spruce up their wet garages with something more interesting than a jet ski.

The key to Triton’s market dominance has been its mastery of the acrylic sphere. Its bubble-subs give drivers and passengers an ultra-widescreen panoramic view of the world under the water, totally free from optical distortion.

The hull simply disappears when you’re underwater; editors on the BBC’s Blue Planet II series couldn’t distinguish between footage shot from inside the thick bubble and footage shot from external cameras. You’re sitting there thousands of feet under the surface, totally immersed in the undersea world, and yet free to move around in air-conditioned comfort at terrestrial pressure levels.

In the past, Triton has made these spheres by casting two separate acrylic half-domes of Plexiglass and sticking them together with an invisible adhesive, but in recent years as the company’s ambitions have expanded, it’s been creating them from a single slab that’s heated and then formed into shape.

The Titanic Explorer uses a single piece of thick acrylic, heated up and molded into a spherical shape, to withstand the enormous pressures of the deep ocean
The Titanic Explorer uses a single piece of thick acrylic, heated up and molded into a spherical shape, to withstand the enormous pressures of the deep ocean

Triton Submarines

That’s the only way you could possibly build a bubble as large as the one used in the remarkable 6-seat 3300/6 we first saw late last year, and it’s certainly the only way you could guarantee the strength, thickness and optical perfection needed to build Triton’s latest machine.

The Triton 13000/2 Titanic Explorer will be the deepest diving acrylic bubble sub ever built, by a long way. It’ll be capable of diving to 4,000 m (13,123 ft), making it the only transparent sphere that can take you and a buddy down to the wreck of the Titanic, some 3,800 m (12,500 ft) under the surface.

Triton’s dropped in on Jack and Rose’s love nest once before, mind you, back in 2019. But to do so, it needed to use its monstrous 36000/2 sub, which has a titanium sphere hull capable of taking two people to the bottom of the Marianas trench. Indeed, it was the first manned mission to the Titanic wreck in some 14 years, so rather a special achievement.

Articulating gull-wings give underwater scientists and cinematographers new capabilities, as well as making it easier to park
Articulating gull-wings give underwater scientists and cinematographers new capabilities, as well as making it easier to park

Triton Submarines

Thus, the ability to visit the world’s most famous shipwreck – and do so in a comfortable, see-through ball – is one heck of a selling point. But the new sub has another extraordinary trick up its sleeve in the form of a set of huge, articulating gull wings coming off the top. These fold down against the sides of the bubble for a nice slippery hydrodynamic shape as you drop down or rise up through the water, meaning the journey down to Titanic-level depths takes just two hours, “significantly faster than previously possible.”

Once they’re up and out, they stretch to a width of 6 m (19.7 ft), and offer a couple of key advantages. Firstly, if you’re down there to shoot photo or video, the wings are fitted with lighting and camera mounts, giving you the ability to shoot things from one point and light them from another, moving either the camera or the light at will by controlling the wings. That’ll be terrific for cinematographers – lights too close to the camera tend to wash out an image and make it feel flat and boring – and it’ll be equally handy to be able to swivel the camera around for wide-angle shots of the presenter and crew in the bubble in selfie mode.

Secondly, the wings also contain the sub’s propulsion units, so if you’re close to the sea floor or a delicate wreck, you can get the thrusters up high and wide before you move around and disturb it. Of course, the folding wings come in handy when it’s time to park the sub in a garage, too, or in an instance where you need to squeeze through a tight gap.

The thick acrylic sphere becomes completely transparent underwater, with no optical distortion, and will give pilots and passengers unprecedented views of water as deep as 13,000 ft
The thick acrylic sphere becomes completely transparent underwater, with no optical distortion, and will give pilots and passengers unprecedented views of water as deep as 13,000 ft

Triton Submarines

A new Silent Glide feature is also notable; while the sub’s descending, it can make “gentle, sweeping turns,” or maintain a fixed heading, or track an object, or glide towards a target in a controlled fashion, without using its thrusters, so as not to disturb wildlife or introduce noise into a video recording.

The Titanic Explorer will carry enough battery power and life support for two-person expeditions longer than 12 hours. Interestingly enough, that takes just 40 kWh worth of battery. It uses four main and four auxiliary direct drive electric thrusters, each putting out up to 5.5 kW. It weighs 12,000 kg (26,455 lb), and measures 4.45 x 2.75 x 3 m (14.6 x 9 x 9.8 ft) when it’s folded up, so it ain’t small.

There’s no information as yet on price or availability for the Titanic Explorer 13000/2, but I think we can safely assume it’s a lot, and made to order. Enjoy the video below to get a sense of why the experience of going underwater is so much more impressive in an acrylic bubble.

Triton Submarines – Heart of the Ocean

Source: Triton Submarines

Source: https://newatlas.com/marine/triton-titanic-explorer-submarine/

NEWATLAS

Street-based radar system designed to save pedestrian lives

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Many cars are now equipped with pedestrian-detecting radar systems, but those systems can still be blocked by obstacles such as buildings or other vehicles. A new setup is intended to get around that problem, by taking the radar to the streets.

The system is currently being developed as part of the HORIS project, by three separate branches of Germany’s Fraunhofer research group. It incorporates infrastructure-connected MIMO radar sensors, which could be installed at pedestrian-heavy locations such as bus stops, school zones or crosswalks.

Continuously scanning the area 100 times per second, each sensor unit is capable of first identifying an object as being a person, and then ascertaining the speed and direction in which they’re walking or running … if they’re moving at all, that is. Should the system determine that the person is heading toward the road at too fast of a speed – so that they’re about to step out in front of oncoming traffic – it emits a warning signal.

Such a wireless signal would be picked up by the vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) system in cars close by, causing an audio/visual alarm to sound/appear in any vehicles that might be about to hit the pedestrian. The system could perhaps even automatically activate those cars’ brakes.

One of the MIMO radar sensors utilized in the system
One of the MIMO radar sensors utilized in the system

A. Shoykhetbrod/Fraunhofer FHR

Additionally, even if no one were about to step onto the road, the system could still warn drivers to slow down if they were approaching an area where numerous people were milling about on the sidewalk. And because no cameras are involved, there shouldn’t be any privacy concerns.

Although the technology is still in development, it is already being demonstrated at a bus stop on the campus of the Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt university. There, a setup incorporating two radar sensors is able to monitor up to eight people at once, determining if any of them are moving toward the road.

Source: Fraunhofer

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Source: https://newatlas.com/good-thinking/street-radar-pedestrian-warning/

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Tree-fungus supplement could reduce fertilizer use in tomato crops

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Although Ceriporia lacerata fungus causes tree wood to rot, it also has a good side. According to a new study, adding the fungus to agricultural soil allows tomatoes to be grown using much less fertilizer.

Partially because they have such a long growth period, tomato plants require more nutrients than many other crops. As a result, farmers typically apply large quantities of chemical fertilizer to their fields.

Not only is this time-consuming and expensive, but it also reduces populations of beneficial microbes in the soil, plus it causes pollution as excess fertilizer runs out of the soil and into waterways. Additionally, even though chemical fertilizers may indeed boost tomato yields, they often reduce fruit quality.

Led by Jianguo Huang, scientists at China’s Southwest University instead looked to a specific strain of the Ceriporia fungus which is harmless to tomatoes.

Ordinarily, when growing on trees and when present in the soil, it emits enzymes such as proteases and phosphatases to obtain nutrients from the immediate environment. In the course of doing so, it frees up nutrients – including those previously delivered in fertilizer – which would otherwise have remained “locked up” within naturally occurring compounds in the soil. Those nutrients can then be taken up by plants.

In field tests, it was found that when the HG2011 strain of Ceriporia lacerata was added to both fertilized and unfertilized soil, it improved the nutrient uptake and thus the yield of tomato plants growing in that soil. Importantly, the fungus also enhanced the nutritional value and flavor of the fruit by increasing its sugar-to-acid ratio along with its soluble sugar and vitamin C content.

It is now hoped that compost incorporating the fungus could be used in an inexpensive supplement, which would reduce the need for traditional fertilizers.

A paper on the research was published this week in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Source: American Chemical Society via EurekAlert

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Source: https://newatlas.com/science/tree-fungus-less-fertilizer-tomatoes/

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Spongey filter releases purified lake water when set in the sun

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Ironically, many of the places that most require water purification have the least-developed infrastructure. That’s where a new filtration device comes in, as it’s activated by the sun – and it’s said to perform better than other solar-powered purification systems.

One of the most common ways of using the sun to purify water involves setting up what’s known as a solar still. Although there are several different types of solar still, they’re all based around the concept of collecting pure condensed water vapor that evaporates out of tainted liquid water as it’s heated by the sun.

While such setups are effective, they can sometimes take a long time to produce a decent amount of drinkable water. Seeking a faster-acting alternative, scientists at Princeton University have developed an inexpensive flat sponge-like device that draws in water from a lake or pond, then releases purified water when subsequently set in the sunlight.

At the heart of the filter is a polymer gel with a mesh-like microstructure. That gel is surrounded by a layer of a dark-colored material called polydopamine, which is in turn covered with a clear layer of an algae-derived substance known as alginate.

When the device is left to float in relatively cool water, the gel’s mesh remains loose and open. Water flows in through pores in the two outer layers, drawn to hydrophilic (water-attracting) molecules within the gel. The alginate’s pores are small enough, however, that they don’t allow pollutants or pathogens to pass through.

When the filter is subsequently removed from the water and placed in the sunlight, the dark polydopamine boosts its solar gain, causing it to heat up. As it does so, hydrophobic (water-repelling) molecules in the gel are drawn toward one another. This causes the gel to contract, essentially wringing the purified water out of the spongey material. That water is collected in a container placed below the filter.

In a test of the device, it was initially placed in the 25 ºC (77 ºF) water of the Princeton campus’ Lake Carnegie for an hour. It was then taken out and set in the sunlight for another hour, over the course of which it heated to 33 ºC (91 ºF) and released the water that it had soaked up. That water proved to be free of toxins and pathogens, including potentially harmful microbes that are found in the lake.

A paper on the study, which is being led by Prof. Rodney Priestly and postdoctoral research fellow Xiaohui Xu, was recently published in the journal Advanced Materials.

Source: Princeton University via EurekAlert

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Source: https://newatlas.com/good-thinking/water-purification-filter-sun/

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The newest Casio G-Shock smartwatch is the first to run Wear OS

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Google’s Wear OS platform could certainly use some more actual smartwatches to run on, and Casio has obliged with the GSW-H1000 – the first G-Shock smartwatch from the brand to come with Wear OS on board.

The watch has all the ruggedness you would expect from a Casio G-Shock timepiece: it’s shock-resistant and water-resistant down to a depth of 200 meters (656 feet).

It’ll handle more extreme pursuits like snowboarding and surfing as well as the usual running, cycling and indoor activity tracking. The titanium carbide finish on the back of the smartwatch is designed to resist scratches and damage, but the wearable is also designed to be comfortable, with a soft urethane strap intended to be both flexible and durable.

This is a smartwatch packed with sensors, too. Of course it can track your location via GPS, and how many steps you’re taking per day, but it also packs in a heart rate sensor, a compass, and an altitude and air pressure sensor. A total of 15 activities and 24 indoor workout options are covered in total.

There’s a neat trick with the display, as well – it’s a dual-layer affair that can switch between monochrome and color, so you can save battery life when you need to. Depending on how you use the screens and the sensors, battery life can reportedly be anywhere between one-and-a-half days and a month.

The display also features a customizable three-tier layout, so you can pick which bits of information you want to see at a glance – from heart rate to lap times. That’s on top of all the customizations Wear OS gives you, too.

The smartwatch tracks location, steps, heart rate and much more
The smartwatch tracks location, steps, heart rate and much more

Casio

This being a device running Google software, Google Assistant integration is baked right in, and you can use it to see notifications and to control media on your connected smartphone (both Android and iOS are supported by Wear OS, though the integration with Android and its apps is much tighter).

The Casio G-Shock GSW-H1000 is scheduled to go on sale in mid-May with a retail price of around US$700 – your color options are black with gray highlights, black with blue highlights, and black with red highlights and a red strap. While there are some decent Wear OS smartwatches out there, another one is very welcome.

Product page: Casio G-Shock GSW-H1000

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Source: https://newatlas.com/smartwatches/casio-g-shock-smartwatch-wear-os/

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