US researchers are developing technology for an underwater wireless network that would use sound waves to transmit data between sensors and wireless devices.
Scientists from New York's University of Buffalo are calling the wireless project the 'deep-sea internet'.
Because radio waves travel poorly underwater, the system would instead use acoustic waves to send data. This method is already employed by many undersea sensor transmission systems worldwide, but sharing data between them can be difficult due to the lack of interoperability.
The system under development would instead be capable of transmitting data from underwater sensor networks directly to laptops, smartphones and other wireless devices.
The technology has already been successfully tested in New York's Lake Erie using a laptop to communicate with two underwater sensors.
Project lead Tommaso Melodia, the University's associate professor of electrical engineering, said the system could give researchers “an unprecedented ability to collect and analyze data from our oceans in real time.”
Potential applications include more rapidly alerting coastal residents to tsunamis and other disasters, helping to collect oceanographic data and helping to detect drug smugglers' use of makeshift submarines.