Underwater acoustic modem with streaming video capabilities

By Martins, M.S.; Cabral, J.; Lopes, G.; Ribeiro, F.

MTS/IEEE OCEANS 2015 - Genova: Discovering Sustainable Ocean Energy for a New World

2015

Abstract

Oceans have shown tremendous importance and impact on our lives. Thus the need for monitoring and protecting the oceans has grown exponentially in recent years. On the other hand, oceans have economical and industrial potential in areas such as pharmaceutical, oil, minerals and biodiversity. This demand is increasing and the need for high data rate and near real-time communications between submerged agents became of paramount importance. Among the needs for underwater communications, streaming video (e.g. for inspecting risers or hydrothermal vents) can be seen as the top challenge, which when solved will make all the other applications possible. Presently, the only reliable approach for underwater video streaming relies on wired connections or tethers (e.g. from ROVs to the surface) which presents severe operational constraints that makes acoustic links together with AUVs and sensor networks strongly appealing. Using new polymer-based acoustic transducers, which in very recent works have shown to have bandwidth and power efficiency much higher than the usual ceramics, this article proposes the development of a reprogrammable acoustic modem for operating in underwater communications with video streaming capabilities. The results have shown a maximum data-rate of 1Mbps with a simple modulation scheme such as OOK, at a distance of 20 m.

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