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On this episode of “TechKnow,” contributor Marita Davison swims with sharks as she explores new robotic technology that is allowing scientists to study these ocean predators like never before.
Dr. Chris Lowe, director of California State University at Long Beach's Sharklab, studies hundreds of leopard sharks off the coast of Catalina Island in Southern California. For his research, Lowe uses a torpedo-shaped autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), a robot that powers itself through the ocean, tracking and collecting data on sharks and other animals.
The AUV uses “hydrophones”—underwater microphones—to listen for acoustic tags that the scientists have attached to fish and sharks. The tags send out a “ping” every few seconds that the hydrophones pick up and locate, allowing the robot to track and monitor the sharks and surrounding ocean without affecting its behavior.
Original Air Date: October 27, 2013