18-year-old builds functioning submarine

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[Justin Beckerman] built a functioning one-man submarine. The thing is, this isn’t the first one that he’s built. Looking through the projects on his website we find almost no information about this build, but he does show off one previous model, as well as a couple of unmanned underwater rover projects.

The pressure hull of the sub is made from corrugated drainage pipe. This isn’t a bad idea as the tube is engineered to be buried in the ground and carry the load of earth on top of it. It’s designed to go down just 30 feet, which explains the lack of half-dome caps on either end; the pressure just isn’t that great at that depth. The buoy floating to his left is his tether to the surface. Fresh air is pumped from here into the sub. He’s also included safety features like a 20-minute air tank in case he gets into a bind, and a quick opening top hatch. That hatch is a hemisphere of clear acrylic which lets him view what’s around him.

You’ll learn more from the two video clips he posted. The Fox 5 news interview includes a shot of one of the messiest work benches we’ve seen. A messy bench is the sign of constant project construction, right?

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Transmitting power and data through thick metal enclosures

So let’s say you have a submarine, or a nuclear containment chamber which has walls made of thick metal. Now let’s say you want to transmit power or data through this wall. Obviously you’re not going to want to drill a hole since this wall is either keeping seawater out, or potential contamination in, but wireless signals aren’t going to travel well through dense metal. [Tristan Lawry’s] entry in the Lamelson-MIT Rensselaer Student Prize seeks to address this issue by using ultrasound waves to transmit data and power.

In the video after the break [Tristan] speaks briefly about his project, then demonstrates the transmission of power and digital audio simultaneously through a two-inch thick steel plate. This is accomplished with a set of piezo transducers attached to both the inside and outside of the plate. Communications originate by feeding electricity to one transducer, which sends ultrasonic vibrations through the material to be received by its counterpart on the other side. It’s easy for us to understand data transmission conducted in this manner, after all that’s how the knock block receives information. What we don’t understand is how it can “transfer large amounts of electrical power”. If you can explain it in layman’s terms please do so in the comments.

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Profit-less space program launches in one week

The Copenhagen Suborbitals are now within one week of their first launch. We looked in on the non-profit and non-secretive space program back in March but we had no idea the group had a frickin’ submarine at their disposal. What you see above is the rocket on its floating launch platform. The submarine will haul it out into the Baltic Sea for launch. There’s not much room in the craft for an astronaut but it will be a horrifying an exhilarating flight. According to the spacecraft page the human payload will be in a half-sitting, half-standing position looking up through an acrylic nose dome. This first launch will not be manned, but once they get through the tests this will be one crazy ride.

Building the yellow submarine

Submarine builds are always fun but frequently produce headaches when it comes to keeping the water out. [Jason Rollette] built this ROV to explore a shipwreck in Lake Michigan. The main structure is PVC and various bilge pumps are used for propulsion. An AVR ATmega32 controls the on board electronics with an Ethernet tether to the surface. He’s even got a visual basic program that displays system information and a video feed. It may not be as stylish as the last submarine we saw but it’s amazingly well thought out and well built.

[Thanks Daphreak]

Robot subs compete

These Autonomous Underwater Vehicles are all competing in the 12th annual AUVSI competition. They have to complete an underwater obstacle course that involves some tight maneuvering, retrieval of a briefcase, dropping bombs, and firing torpedoes. We’ve seen several UAVs before, but we haven’t ever seen them weaponized and in action. Yeah, those weapons don’t look lethal, but isn’t that just a matter of ammunition?

Wide angle lense mod for the ATC2K

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For those that have them, the ATC2K action camera is a decent little piece of equipment. It is waterproof and can save video for roughly 30 minutes on a flash card. The viewing angle of the lens leaves something to be desired though. This has been remedied in newer models. [raalst] shows us how to modify the ATC2K to install a new, wider angle lens, while retaining the waterproof seal.  He also takes us through a necessary mod to ensure clear video under water since the new lens was not initially intended for it.  Just in case you are curious, he’s using his for hobby radio controlled submarine dives.

Naval academy’s AUV team project

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[Daniel] sent us over to the blog for the Naval Academy’s Autonomous underwater vehicle entry for the AUVSI competition. You can follow along as they design, build, and test this years entry. It really looks like it would be fun to be the guy who gets to swim with them, like in the latest post in their blog. Their entry, named “Awkward turtle” can be seen above in orange, pictured with their 5th place winning previous entry.