Science

Liquid Robotics Wave Glider SV3 Brings The Cloud To The Waves

By Zach White , Apr 08, 2013 05:31 PM EDT
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One of the problems with the growing power and ubiquity of the Web is how much space and energy it takes to run all the servers that make the whole Internet work. Liquid Robotics has developed a solution that solves those problems, and many more.

Liquid Robotics debuted its Wave Glider SV3 recently, a floating wireless data processing center designed to float continuously in the ocean for months, capturing and processing data to be beamed back through several wireless technologies.

The Liquid Robotics Wave Glider SV3 is able to power the large collection of equipment suspended beneath its floating top layer, with a combination of power from photovoltaic solar panels and wave energy, converting the motion of the ocean into electricity.

The system has apparently been designed to handle any of the hazardous extreme weather conditions the ocean tends to throw at floating fragile objects, from ships to human bodies.

Daniel Terdiman from CNET, explained how the device could be used by any organization with an interest in gaining unprecedented access to live streaming information from the ocean.

“At its heart, the SV3 is meant to carry a heavy duty load of sensors designed to serve everything from the oil and gas industry to fisheries to coast guards and the military,” Terdiman said. “Its power management systems were designed, the company said, so that its on-board servers can continuously bring in data, and simultaneously analyze the information before transmitting conclusions via satellite communications.”

You don’t have to specifically be doing marine research to be interested in the capabilities of the Liquid Robotics Wave Glider SV3, however.

“In a sense, Liquid Robotics is hoping that the Wave Glider SV3 can be the Amazon Web Services — a floating server rack — of the open oceans, said the company CEO Bill Vass,” according to Terdiman. “The system can be dynamically configurable, with multiple ARM-based processors, and can use either solid-sate or spinning disk storage. Customers can choose whatever combination works best for them.”

Though it’s still probably cheaper at this point for Google to invest billions in both massive land-based data centers and the wind farms and photovoltaic solar panels that power them, there may be a day when the easy cooling and security of ocean-based data centers could make the prospect appealing outside of research.

It could, however, open doors to a whole new kind of Internet piracy.

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