Underwater remote communication – from New Zealand to Croatia


YouTube screenshot of the biomimetic laboratory

July 2, 2021 – As part of the “Improving Diver-Robot Interaction Capabilities” (ADRIATIC) project, funded by the Office of Naval Research Global (ONR Global), scientists conducted a cross-global experiment, Underwater Distance Communication – de la Nouvelle -Zeeland to Croatia.

Poslovni Dnevnik reports, the global pandemic delayed the project a bit, but it did not prevent the development of an autonomous underwater vehicle on which Croatian and New Zealand scientists are working. The University of Zagreb, the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Biomimetic Laboratory of the Institute of Bioengineering, and the University of Auckland conducted a trans-global experiment on underwater remote communication – from the New Zealand to Croatia.

Scientists from the two countries, more than 18,000 kilometers apart, have found a solution to conduct a research experiment despite the global pandemic. The New Zealand diving glove test for communication with the Croatian Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), which was scheduled to occur in the Adriatic submarine, has been canceled due to the epidemiological situation. Croatian and New Zealand researchers found a workaround: A diver with gloves and an autonomous underwater vehicle each dived to their side of the world and performed internet-connected tests.

The experiment was conducted in such a way that a New Zealand diver, wearing an “Adriatic” glove, dived into a 5 meter pool at the West Wave Aquatic Center in Auckland and sent an order to an underwater vehicle located in the swimming pool of the Laboratory of Underwater Systems and Technologies (LABUST) in Zagreb. The ‘Adriatic’ glove detects the movement of the diver’s hand and fingers with sensors that process the movement and converts the information obtained into a control signal sent acoustically to the receiver in the pool. The signal is transmitted to the surface computer on the New Zealand side and then to a server located in Croatia.

Here, the computer transmits the command to the sender, which further sends an acoustic signal from the glove to the autonomous underwater vehicle to move in a given direction and in a given way. The glove features motion sensors from New Zealand’s StretchSense – a spin-out from biomimetics. Thus, the experiment carried out was completed.

To find out more, follow the dedicated TCN page.

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