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Telepresence Technology and the NOAA Research Vessel Okeanos Explorer


Posted: 04/13/2012

"Live images generated by a 50 megapixel video camera on the ocean floor appear as clear and detailed as if they were right in front of us! I sat in on the session today and was utterly fascinated watching the robots explore the shipwreck debris from what they think was a 19th century sailing vessel."  - Derek Toten, Tulane's Director of Campus Technologies, describes the live feed at 1555 Poydras

On Thursday, March 29 Technology Services is hosting a viewing site for the live, high-definition video feed from the NOAA research vessel Okeanos Explorer during its Gulf of Mexico Expedition 2012. The vessel is exploring the sea floor in the northern Gulf of Mexico and is broadcasting live underwater camera views of largely unknown U.S. waters from deep submersible Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and other platforms. There is also live interaction with the ocean-going research team via text messages.  

Besides providing the high-definition viewing location, Tulane and Technology Services are uniquely able to support the live, high speed, high-capacity data link between the Okeanos Explorer and the university via Internet 2. Internet 2 is an advanced networking consortium led by the research and education community. 

"Tulane Network Services received a request from a team from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to provide an alternate location for viewing the Okeanos Explorer expedition. Our participation in Internet 2 and LONI (Louisiana Optical Network Initiative) allowed us to accommodate their request because the video stream from Okeanos is only available using the multicast protocol, which is not generally available over the commodity Internet" - Tim Deeves Director, Network Services

The confluence of technologies that allows the transmission of this live, high definition video stream is known as Telepresence, and would be impossible to implement without the multicast protocol available on Internet 2. The multicast protocol makes two-way communication possible (as opposed to the unicast model that most of us experience on consumer grade internet). Multicast is a one-to-many model that allows the Okeanos Explorer to serve as the multi-cast source that can broadcast to any number of receivers on Internet 2.

Technology Services, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 -- TSNOC: 1-866-276-1428 -- help@tulane.edu