Diving where no man can

It looks like something out of a scuba-diving sequel to the Transformers movie, but this humanoid diving robot is the handiwork of a team of Stanford University robotists.

French officials last week unveiled the robot, dubbed OceanOne, which they hope will give a big artificial hand to the practice of underwater archaeological exploration, reported the New York Times.

The aim is to use the robot to help researchers explore underwater archaeological sites that are too deep for human divers.

It was put to the test last Thursday in the French city of Marseille, where it was made to sift through the wreckage of La Lune, a 17th-century warship some 100m below the Mediterranean, collect a delicate ceramic pot and take it back to the surface, the report said.

Two forward-facing cameras give the robot stereoscopic vision, while its "hands" have fully articulated wrists with force sensors that relay a sense of touch to the hands of the scientist controlling it.

This is achieved using a process known as "haptic feedback", said British daily The Guardian in a report.

OceanOne's success suggests it may be possible to extend underwater explorations for longer and at greater depths, the report added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2016, with the headline 'Diving where no man can'. Print Edition | Subscribe