Deepworker 2000 submersible technical lecture
Bruce H. Robison
Deep sea research
Deep sea submersibles
NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
4 Jan 1999
- Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
- 36.80221 -121.78803
- Sennheiser MKH 30
- Sennheiser MKH 40
Stereo=1; Decoded MS stereo; Sennheiser MKH40 Cardioid Mid Mic and MKH30 Bidirectional Side Mic
Show: Earle / Deepworker
Log of DAT #: 3
Date: Jan 1999
ng = not good
ok = okay
g = good
vg = very good
Lecture from to 58:00
On shore at MBARI (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute), fog horn in back, talking with Bruce Robison.
AC: We¿re probably 200 ft. from the ocean.
BR: I¿m Bruce Robison, I¿m a senior Scientist here at MBARI
AC asks about utility of subs. -- what do you think when you see Deepworker (DW)?
BR: It rep. A new opp. To get into the habitat that I work in ¿ the deep parts of the ocean with a great deal of freedom and mobility to make observations and measurements and conduct experimental work. DW is a rev. technique in terms of putting scientists in to the sea with the mobility to conduct research.
AC: as a scientist what¿s going to be different for you in this kind of device as opp. To previous generations¿deep rover?
BR: The advantages that DW offers over Deep Rover as a biologist is that DW is smaller, which means its less obtrusive, much more maneuverable, and its faster so that I can enter the habitat create far less disturbance than I would with a larger vehicle and uh I can move around more easily both in terms of speed and flexibility than was w the case with Deep Rover, although DR was a terrific tool for the jobs we applied it to, this is just a significant improvement in all of these areas.
AC: At what depths do you work, do you like to work?
BR: As deep as I can get - the animals that I work on range from about 200 meters below the surface down to about 3000 meters below the surface so we¿re only biting off a
so we¿re only biting off a relatively small chunk of the habitat with DW and deep rover there¿s still lots more to explore.
AC: and what is the use for you in being able to go down there in a sub rather than use one of these ROVs that you¿ve been talking about.
BR: well there are different things that each type of system does best and really its not an either/or issue but the kind of things that human occupied vehicles do better is to make larger scale obs. With an ROV using a video camera as your observation tool you lack the depth of field and overlap of visual fields that lets you see things with a three dimensional relationship also using a video camera on an ROV is a bit like looking through a pipe with one eye. You see a relatively small volume of water and as a consequence you lose the big picture using a human occupied vehicle on a much larger scale you see a much greater volume of water and thus for a biologist you can understand a great deal more about how animals interact how they orient themselves with each other how close they are how far apart they are and you can see all of that at much lower levels of light bc human eyes sup to cam systems¿and uh overall get a much better feel for what things are actually like when its your own eyes attached to the portable computer between your ears that¿s doing the observing
AC: when you set out in DW on a research trip, do you know what you¿re looking for?
yes and no we have in mind the things that we hope to measure and report but always we keep open the opportunity for the unexpected and indeed deep sea research is a very much in an exploratory stage - so invariably we find things that we can¿ anticipate that we don¿t expect, things that surprise us. And that¿s another advantage to being there yourself so you can respond completely to the surprises that are always there
If you go down to 500 meters say that¿s a little over 1500 feet and you get down there, what do you do, look around - how much can you see down there, it¿s pretty dark isn¿t it?
It¿s pretty dark, most of these things have illumination systems so you can illuminate the waters around you but also if you take the time to dark adapt that is to sit at depth w the lights out your eyes become surprisingly sensitive and while there¿s very little natural sunlight that comes through and also the vast majority of animals that live at those depths are bioluminescent they manufacture they¿re own light that they use for a variety of intersections from schooling and aggregation to finding their preys¿bioluminescence is the one common currency in the animal life ¿in the deep sea dn our dark adapted eyes are much better at seeing bioluminescence than any camera system I¿m aware of.
I just wondered ¿do you get distracted?
--sure. All the time
what¿s your day like down there?
BR: it¿s always very exciting and it always ends a lot sooner than you¿d expect it would. Yes we do go down with goals in hand, quantitative transects¿this dept and that depth¿however those pre-dive plans often go awry when you see something out of the corner of your eye and you say ¿what the heck is that¿ and you spin your vehicle around¿you very often find things that you didn¿t expect¿but often its a rewarding discovery that helps you to understand how these comm are structured and how they work
BR: I¿ve been using a one-person submersible since ¿16-17 years
talks about submersibles¿
BR: virtually every dive I see something new¿(waiting for plane)¿1:09:35 the ecological comm that live in the oceanic water column - the region of water between the surface and the bottom are the largest animal communities on earth¿largest in terms of¿any way you wanna slice it, these are the dominant animal common the planet and yet we know next to nothing about it - it shouldn¿t be too surprising that when we visit these comm we see something new, often its more than one thing¿we virtually find something new and when we compare regions we¿re getting to know the Monterey submarine comm¿when I dive in other places¿I can compare what I see in those regions¿1:11:30
AC: asks what¿s going to happen with the use of these sub in next ten to twenty years?
BR: I think there¿s not much question that our understanding about oceanic comm are put together and how they function is even now going under a rev change and we¿re going to understand how fund things about how the oceanic ecosystem works that we didn¿t even think were important even as recently as a few years ago we¿re going to undergo a profound improvement in the way that oceans work¿1:12:22 when the scientists were stuck at the surface of the ocean and could only sample the sea by groping with gizmos and nets they threw over the side it was like trying to understand a forest ecosystem works by flying over the top of a forest in a blimp on a foggy night and dragging a butterfly net behind¿1:12:59 by entering the forest or entering the deep sea and seeing it first hand you get a vastly different perspective and I suspect that in ten years our understanding of these deep sea communities will have undergone a major revolution.
1:16:08 - 1:16:59
for BR interview. Surf, foghorn.
1:17:29 - 1:23:30
PN: My name is Dr. Phil Nuytten I¿m the president of Nuytten research and Candive Construction also in Vancouver Canada
-talks about spelling of last name.
PN: well DW is about sixth or seventh generation submersible and it came about as a desire on my part to what amounts to an underwater sports car and that is a very easy to operate sub that will go to pretty great depth this particular one goes to about 2000 feet which is a considerable depth compared to scuba diving but be really easy to operate be um intuitively operable and not too much different than driving a golf cart.
--why is that important?
Well the existing submersibles both military and scientific are large unbelievably expensive and very complex and seemed to me¿ must be an easy way that can be controlled by virtually anyone with a small amount of training and that¿s what we set out to do, uh is about the sixth generation of sub that we¿ve built of been involved in¿this sort of the sub that¿s just right we went from the Deep Rover which is a large deep diving 3000 foot acrylic hull sub we wound up with a small micro-sub called the Nuytt suit that you wear, one was too big the other was too small this one¿s just right.
I heard you say earlier that you wanted a sub that just a bout anyone could get into¿figure out how to drive it¿its that simple, which seema I¿m sure for anybody listening to this unbelievable that I could go drive a sub.
well I suppose in the same way if you walk up to a computer screen these days¿the submarine needs to be the same way it has to be abs. safe, abs. reliable, easy to use in as much as you can jump¿nothing there that could really hurt you that was one of the overriding constraints?
why is that important for someone like myself to operate a submarine?
well I think its imp. Because of my firm belief that the ocean is where we¿re going to wind up in the foreseeable future, we¿re fortunate in the last century to diddle around on the 25% of the earth that we¿re born on, but we¿ve got ¾ of the planet that we have not yet explored and I suppose not yet ruined¿it occurs to me always that we¿re the first generation to see our planet from space and the first one to realize that it should not have been called earth it should have been called ocean¿and we¿re going I think where we were ultimately meant to go ultimately bc of our propensity to do the things we do we will head to the stars but I think a great proving ground, a jumping off point for the stars will be the bottom of the ocean.1:29:50
do scientists¿trained to run subs?
No their trained to find¿their part beastie¿they¿re not mechanically minded people their interest is primarily in their science, and they¿ll put up with whatever they have to put up with to be able to do that and so we want to make it as easy for them as possible, they shouldn¿t have to learn hoe to pilot a jet aircraft in order to get the specimens and do the research they want to do, so we¿re trying to give them something that has the capability of an aircraft but is as easy to operate as a golf cart. 1:30:54
AC asks about FED-EX ing DW, size
absolutely, its so critical¿we¿ve sent them all over the world, virtually larger sys have to go by barge, price themselves out of the market.
Op of submarine. Not just sub sending out there¿
PN: talks about Mir I and Mir II¿titanic.
Talks about Aquarius¿
do you like being in subs?
I love it, there¿s no place I¿d rather be¿talk about hanging out, when you dive down a couple thousand feet or even a thousand feet for that matter and you sit there and look around you at the gelatinous critters doing their mystic crystal dance of bioluminescence, its something I never tire of¿we know what each other is talking about when you wink at each other and say isn¿t it really neat?¿
Tech. Going to make a difference, normal people able to go there, mentions sylvia¿s book¿you¿re giving chnace to discover ocean¿
well I sure hope so, you know when I was a young tad I wouldn¿t to change the world but now that I¿ve gotten a little longer in the tooth¿if 50-100 years from now somebody going through some obscure journal and says oh that¿s the Nuytten valve that we¿re using I would be thrilled.
? about Sylvia Earle.
Phil Nuytten talks about business previously¿ocean-ary
International then back to Sylvia
PN: well you sit in a race car seat ess¿there¿s room for your legs there¿s a set of pedals which are just like the brake and clutch pedals in a car but instead of stopping you and taking you faster forward they do everything, they take you up they take you down¿like flying, being in a sub is a three-d exp, you can go up and down and left and right¿
PN: the vehicle itself is a very very small sub, that I¿ve heard described as an underwater sports car or terminally cute¿the whole idea of it was to make a sub that was small enough that it had tremendously fast response, so as soon as you do something almost before you press the peda,l it does what you want it to do, and its very quick. Most of the large subs part. The military subs are very slow and ponderous and when you want to make a move you have to anticipate it well in advance and it takes a long time for your command to be felt by the machine- in the deep rover (DW?) its like riding a bicycle or high-powered motorcycle¿zips you around like a minnow and so you¿re a master of the vertical as well as the horizontal and you wind up buzzing around both near the bottom and mid-water as if you owned the ocean and uh when you drive that thing you really do feel like you own the ocean.1:43:28
AC asks about prototypes-- clunky?
PN: Absolutely, these ones are lightweight trainers and so they¿re only made to dive in reasonably shallow water¿these are good to about 750 ft¿bc trainers made as simple as possible, the full scale 2000 foot sustainable seas submersible are phenomenal¿I look at it and shake my head and think--I spent too much money on this thing I mean this thing is too good¿they¿re all stainless steal¿latest in hydraulics and thrusters¿
AC: you¿re going to try and build a sub for $100,000¿
PN: That¿s been a goal of mine for some time¿(talks about free-swimming suit) ¿which will allow scuba divers to go down to depths up to 200 meters and spend all day w no decompression¿no more than 100 lbs and cost no more than 100,000¿and that¿s kind of the level that I would like to see a little every-man¿s submarine to come at, I would love to build a sub that¿s kind of like the beetle of the underwater world and that you can jump in and roar around¿and the average person could run¿we¿re learning so much with these small subs as to how to make them um at low cost, high performance but always intuitively easy to use, simple to operate 1:45:34¿.
AC: If you do that normal people will be going down¿
PN: Yeah its really something, it uh at some of the resorts¿have shown tremendous interest¿there¿s a large exposition¿DEMA¿we showed DW there and the tour people went nut, they said this is how its going to be in the future and I said well I certainly hope you¿re right. 1:46:47
PN: well looking into next century¿ I know the way it will go in the generic sense, that is we will go under the sea and its kind of interesting as this century races to a close, You can sort of stick you¿re head up and see the ocean you¿re flowing into¿digital revolution on one hand, video¿all coming together¿whole world getting smaller and so it doesn¿t require too much of a rocket scientist to figure out what¿s going to happen in the next century¿but to be v specific about the underwater world, I really believe we¿re going there¿I really believe we¿re going there¿some kind of machine¿you and I got here on jet planes we sure as hell didn¿t get here by flapping arms, we¿re just not that good¿ our design criteria our blueprint hasn¿t changed armor of technology that where we¿re going to go. 1:48:41
PN: well I wonder if its explaining¿repeating what I said to myself six months ago, when I first came across the problem¿now six months later I¿m saying this to you, isn¿t it wonderful to be able to do that?
AMBI for Phil Nuytten Int. (diff. Location than BR interview)
out of phase