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The Future Starts Here Exhibition
May 12 to November 4, 2018
London @ the Victoria and Albert Museum

Navigate from HERE to my first post on this groundbreaking exhibition, where I discuss Nano Technology, DNA Portraits, Cryonics, Black Mirror Avatars, Solar Couture, Helpful Robots, Magic Mirrors etc.

Sampriti-Bhattacharyya-with-her-Eve-Drone

Underwater Drone by young Indian inventor Sampriti Bhattacharyya: the Eve Hydroswarm

Part of the geo-engineering section of the exhibition, the Hydroswarm technology promises to open up the vastly unknown world of our oceans’ depths. At present we know more about the surface of the moon than the terrains in our oceans.

In 2015, at the tender age of 28, Sampriti Bhattacharyya, patented the Hrydroswarm, a powerful program to design artificial intelligence enabled underwater drones. A scholar of Robotics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) she created the Hydroswarm prototype as a part of her research thesis.

The sky or, better, the depths of the ocean seems to be the limits for this very talented scientist.  To make her invention into a commercial venture she joined the business program at the Harvard Business School. From there she went on to win many awards: she became one of the eight top contenders (out of two hundred) to make the final of the MIT Entrepreneurship Competition; became also one of the sixteen finalists (out of 2.500 strong contestants) at the Mass Challenge Accelerator contest; and the 2016 prestigious Forbes magazine has included her among the top thirty ‘Most Powerful Young Change-Agents of the World‘. While both oil giant corporations and the defense sectors of many nations are extremely interested and ready to invest big into the new technology.

There are many uses these drones could be put in the areas of maritime defense and security, and, commercially, for monitoring off shore infrastructures, fisheries and aqua-cultures; and, of course, to boost marine conservation, sustainability and preservation research.

Why all the fuss though? We have heard of ocean mapping machines for many years; manned vehicles, like Alvin (DSV-2), built in the USA in 1964, most famous for participating in the exploration of HMS Titanic in 1986; and featured in nearly 2,000 scientific papers.
Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) have been also of great use to marine geo-scientists, as well as to the archeological, commercial and military sectors, together with surface research ships, like the famous Odyssey marine explorer.These technologies are however very expensive to operate and build.

What is so special about this Hydroswarm and its Eve Drones to deserve a space in the V&A exhibition? Many things.

Economy of building and using, as well as the level of accuracy of information, inch by inch when necessary, are what separate this novel technology from the older ones. Small like a football these drones can go anywhere, search every cranny and scan any cavity like never was before possible.

The advantages to the ever more pressing issues of global pollution and climate change are obvious: to know in fine points the geological and ecological profile of the earth’s oceans could eventually help us to save them.

Accuracy and economy are what the Hydroswarm promises to achieve, potentially mapping in details the 95% areas of the oceans that haven’t been explored yet. The Eve Drones’ guiding artificial intelligence will look at these unknown habitats by making the drones roll around the oceans’ depths with their egg-shaped bodies. Because of their handy size and streamlined organic design they are much easier to maneuver than larger, more complexly built vessels.

Cheap to make and economic to use these rather cute unmanned robots could literally swarm together or in isolation, with the capability to zero-in all possible details of marine objects, organic and inorganic.

Each drone is capable of mapping up to 100 square kilometers in four hours! And naturally they can withstand the extreme pressure at the bottom of the sea.

I imagine these golden drones as a new and strange species of marine life, born directly from the genius and wisdom of ancient India.

London @ the Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell rd, South Kensington

Opening on Saturday, May 12 until November 4 2018