Fiber Optics Transmit 3D Video of Titanic
When the Titanic set off on her maiden voyage from England on April 10, 1912, it was the largest passenger steamship in the world. Four days into the journey across the Atlantic, the ship hit an iceberg and sank—resulting in the deaths of 1,517 people. Since then, the story of the Titanic has become a timeless legend.
Since its discovery in 1985, there have been several research and recovery expeditions to the sunken vessel. 98 years after the Titanic met its watery grave, a new type of discovery mission was launched—and was made successful with the help of fiber optic technology. The goal of the research expedition was to map and document the Titanic site with the long-term goal of creating and archaeological management plan.
Fiber optic technology played a major role in the research expedition in August. One of the robotic submarines that traced a grid measuring the wreck site, the Remora 6000, was attached to the research ship by a fiber optic tether. As the robotic submarine dove 2.5 miles under the sea, technology aboard the Remora 6000 transmitted 3D HDTV video and other data via fiber up to the ship.
The video-over-fiber transmission technology was employed in several configurations on the Titanic project. At one point the Advanced Imaging and Visualization Lab at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution used over eight HD and UHDTV cameras on the Remora plus some other devices whose signals were multiplexed and sent back to the main ship over a single strand of single mode fiber running more than 32,000 feet.
The thousands of transmitted photos were fused with “location” data, while the 3D cameras closely photographed the bow and stern. When all the imaging was merged with acoustic data, researchers were able to produce the largest ship wreck site photomosaic ever made.
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