Seafaring Robot Tweets Photos As It Hunts Hawaiian Hurricanes

Thursday, 07 August 2014 - 1:27PM
Thursday, 07 August 2014 - 1:27PM

A floating robot is sailing directly into the path of the two Hurricanes that are currently bearing down on the Hawaiian islands, and autonomously tweeting pictures in the process. Developed by Liquid Foundation, Holoholo is a self-powered seafaring robot that uses wave motion to power it across the ocean surface. 



As Hurricanes Iselle and Julio approach, Holoholo is making a beeline right into their paths. But this is no robot suicide mission, a Wave Glider robot has already successfully emerged out of the powerful Typhoon Rammasun unscathed and it is hoped that the readings these 270 pound stormhunters provide will help authorities in their storm emergency planning.


"The hope is that by getting more measurements at the sea surface and really understanding how the energy is transferred from the sea water to the air and vice versa is pretty critical to being able to predict the intensity of the hurricane when it hits shore," said Liquid Robotics VP Graham Hine.


Hurricane Iselle is widely expected to be the first hurricane to hit the Hawaiian islands in 22 years, and the $300,000 Holoholo robot is perfectly placed to intercept it. Around every 30 minutes Holoholo tweets an image of its surroundings or a report on the conditions it is currently experiencing at sea such as "Weather Report: Temp=25.8˚C (78.5˚F), Press=1015.6mb, Wind Speed=6.02kn, Wind Dir=344.0˚" or "Beaufort Wind Condition: Moderate Breeze". 


It even manages to attach a witty remark to many of its photos....


"Enjoy the view!"


"A Picture is worth 1000 words"


While the photo tweets may be slightly more exciting than those containing stats, both can provide valuable information for authorities as they brace for the impact of a storm. Just as human stormhunters may fly towards a hurricane to gauge its intensity, Wave Gliders like Holoholo are able to do the same at sea level but with zero risk to human life.


As residents of the Hawaiian islands ready themselves for the approach of Iselle and Julio, they may want to steal a glance at Holoholo's Twitter feed to get an advanced look at the what's in store. Stay safe Hawaii.


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