Don’t Mix Water and GPS – Scientists Found A Way To Navigate Under The Sea

In 1973, the Department of Defence of the United States Government launched a navigation system using 24 satellites. It was developed initially for the use of the United States military.

Don’t Mix Water and GPS 

Global Positioning System, also called GPS is a satellite-based radio navigation system that has come a long way since then, playing an important role in all our lives. It has been developed to allow accurate determination of geographical locations for the use of the militaries and civilians alike. It uses the satellites in the orbit that transmits information that allows measuring the distance between the satellite and the user. Thanks to technological advancements, its use is becoming more and more popular by people in their daily lives

Does GPS work under the water?

GPS signals are carried by radio waves in the microwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Because GPS gets its signals from satellites in space, people tend to think that GPS can reach anywhere on the earth.

 However a huge part of the earth is submerged inside oceans, seas, or rivers, and yet even the most advanced GPS systems cannot map what is under the water. This is because these microwave frequencies are absorbed by the water very effectively. After all, water (especially salt water) is a really good conductor of electricity.

Water breaks down the radio waves that power the GPS. Now since water and GPS don’t mix, scientists have to find a better way to navigate under the sea.

Need for an underwater navigation system

It is a question asked often, that why is navigation needed inside the water. Since GPS works perfectly well for boats, ships, steamers, etc. as long as they remain floating on the water. Below we list a few uses of underwater navigation:

  • For mapping out ocean floors and beds.
  • Helpful for deep-sea divers and scuba divers.
  • Underwater navigation is useful for knowing marine science better.
  • Finding out any wrecks and salvaging them.
  • Exploration of any old accidents and wrecks.
  • Undersea cable repairs.
  • Important for search and rescue missions.
  • Tourism and undersea archaeology.
  • Become a tool in ocean study and ocean discovery.
  • Traveling of Military submarines.

Water and GPS

The current underwater navigation devices make use of sound emitters; hence they are not very effective or accurate. They also need batteries for functioning, which need to be replaced at regular intervals. Also, check more updates on jcpenneykiosk.

A new way to navigate under the sea

Owing to the many hardships and failures of GPS not being able to navigate underwater, scientists were on the lookout to make something different to do the job.

After a long research process, the scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have finally created a new kind of underwater GPS. This new device, unveiled by the researchers, called an Underwater Backscatter Localization (UBL). The UBL works on the concept of reflecting signals rather than emitting them.

How does the UBL work?

The Underwater backscatter localization reacts to acoustic signals to provide information about positioning. Even when it stuck in the depths of oceans. This technology built on something called piezoelectric materials, which produce a small electric charge in response to vibrations. Then this electric charge used by the device to reflect the vibration in the direction where it came from.

The transmitters will send sound waves through the water to the piezoelectric sensors; and when they hit the device it will trigger the material to store the electric charge which then used to reflect a wave to the receiver.

 According to the time taken by the sound wave to reflect off the sensor and then return, the receiver can calculate the distance of it from the UBL. Thus this technology that simply makes use of acoustic signals makes a long-lasting, scalable, and battery-free underwater GPS.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *