New Systems Developed at WHOI Bring 3-D Immersion to Seafloor, Shipwrecks

Above is an image of a 3-D optical model of the Corsair, a WW II military plane that sits in 115 feet water. The plane ran out of fuel during a routine mission in 1948 about two miles south west of Koko Marina, Hawaii. (Photo by Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

WOODS HOLE – The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has developed a new multi-function, underwater imaging system capable of generating ultra-high definition television video, 2-D mosaic imaging, and 3-D optical models of seafloor objects and environments.

The new state-of-the-art technology is currently being field-tested on several submerged shipwreck sites in both the U.S. and Europe.

The cutting-edge technology will enable rapid production of 3-D optical volumetric models of the seafloor—images that scientists can spin to view from all sides, and zoom in on to visually explore around and inside objects or ocean environments.

The models are helping to transform the way scientists examine study areas, such as coral reefs, marine protected areas, maritime heritage sites, and even hazardous material sites.

Currently, 3-D models take months of processing back in the lab.

But the new underwater imaging system will make the models possible in shorter periods of time—even during expeditions at sea.

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