BluHaptics wins grant for subsea robot system

Image: BluHaptics control system
BluHaptics’ chief technology officer, Fredrik Ryden, controls a robotic arm using a haptic pen and an Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset. (Credit: BluHaptics)

BluHaptics has received a $747,197 grant from the National Science Foundation to work on a virtual-reality robotic control system that could transform underwater operations as much as drones have transformed aerial operations.

The project, which includes a subcontract to the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory, will use 3-D data fusion and machine learning to develop safer, more intuitive ways to pilot remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs. Such vehlcles can capture imagery and manipulate objects miles beneath the sea surface.

“Our technology will make subsea and underwater operations safer,” BluHaptics’ chief technology officer, Fredrik Ryden, said today in a blog posting announcing the NSF’s Phase II Small Business Innovative Research grant. “Divers can be replaced in hazardous situations by telerobots with improved control based on our products. The rate of untoward incidents, and their severity, will be mitigated for a large range of subsea activities.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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