science -- October 16, 2013 at 4:05 PM ET
Researchers work towards a deep sea wireless network
Researchers from the University at Buffalo in New York, are using sound waves to create an "underwater wi-fi" network to improve tsunami detection. Wi-fi uses radio waves, which can penetrate water but are limited in range and stability.
Deep sea wireless communication is possible. For example, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration uses acoustic waves to send data from a tsunami sensor, but the data cannot be shared readily because of its infrastructural differences. The goal to create an agreed standard for underwater communication will allow for a more reliable warning system, with easier data-sharing and information interactions.
"A submerged wireless network will give us an unprecedented ability to collect and analyze data from our oceans in real time," Tommaso Melodia, lead researcher, told the BBC. "Making this information available to anyone with a smartphone or computer, especially when a tsunami or other type of disaster occurs, could help save lives."