Researchers Are Going to Bother Fish With ‘Underwater Internet’

We'll say it first: Porn.

Internetting in the high seas. (Photo: Univ. of Buffalo)

Internetting in the high seas. (Photo: Univ. of Buffalo)

The Internet operates at a snail’s pace in much of midtown but that isn’t stopping some engineers from wanting to bring it into the ocean. Researchers at the University of Buffalo are developing a deep-sea computer network that isn’t being targeted at dolphins wanting to use Twitter. Rather, it’s to bolster tsunami detection, natural gas exploration and pollution monitoring.

PCMag writes that the network would rely on sound wave-based methods instead of radio waves since those don’t operate well underwater. Under the researchers plan, the underwater sensors would transmit data to laptops and phones in real time and would allow underwater communication systems to communicate with each other. It’s already being tested in Lake Erie.

Although it’s tempting to think we could plop our waterproof laptop down in the middle of the Pacific and never miss a Techmeme tweet again, the system has real uses. For example, it could detect tsunamis even earlier than the current buoy-based system and study marine life:

“We could even use it to monitor fish and marine mammals, and find out how to best protect them from shipping traffic and other dangers,” said Prof. Tommaso Melodia in a statement. “An Internet underwater has so many possibilities.”

Think of all those seaweed centerpieces sure to sprout up on Pinterest.