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Instruments, moorings, and robotics connected to the cabled observatory draw power, transmit data and imagery to shore, and receive instructions from operators on land.

Far more powerful than any one of these emerging technologies will be the convergence of the ensemble.

Emergent Technologies Converge

Emergent technologies converge to bring the global ocean to scientists, engineers, educators, policy makers, and the general public. Paper contributed to SubOptic2010

The National Science Foundation's Ocean Observtories Initiative (OOI) Regional Cabled Array, a submarine cabled ocean observatory, merges dramatic technological advancements in sensor technologies, robotic systems, high-speed communication, eco-genomics, and nanotechnology with a network that will substantially transform the approaches used by scientists, educators, technologists and policy makers to interact with the dynamic global ocean.

Electrical Outlets and Internet Connections in the Oceans

Science nodes installed on the OOI Regional Cabled Array, in essence, are electrical outlets and Internet connections in the ocean off of the Oregon and Washington coast for scientists to plug into for pursuit of their discovery-oriented research and educational activities.

Instruments, moorings, and vehicles plugged into the nodes draw power, transmit data to shore and receive instructions from operators on land almost instantaneously. Scientists and engineers from the University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory and  School of Oceanography are collaborating closely to develop, adapt and integrate instrument packages and sensors for this cabled system.

The Most Powerful Research Tool

Many nations have now implemented this type of system in the offshore extensions of their territorial seas. As these systems become more sophisticated and as the data become routinely available, the Internet will become one of the most powerful oceanographic research tools on the planet.

Public Participation in Exploration and Discovery

A novel aspect of the OOI Regional Cabled Array is that, because it is connected to the Internet, the public as well as educators and other scientists can now access the data streams in real-time by utilizing the CyberInfrastructure component of the OOI. This allws many different types of interested users to collaborate as "virtual participants" in expeditions as scientists learn how to deploy and manage these systems, to contribute to the scientific process and discoveries, and to watch over the shoulders of scientists as this new era of oceanography is launched.