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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

Emergent Technologies Converge

The National Science Foundation's Ocean Observtories Initiative Regional Scale Nodes 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 Scale Nodes cable become, in essence, electrical outlets and Internet connections in the oceans for many scientists to plug into for pursuit of their discovery-oriented research or educational activities.

Instruments, moorings, and robots plugged into the nodes will 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

Over the coming decades, most nations will implement systems of this type 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 the most powerful oceanographic research tool on the planet.

Public Participation in Exploration and Discovery

A novel aspect of the OOI Regional Scale Nodes is that, because it is connected to the Internet, the public as well as educators and other scientists can access the data streams in real-time by utilizing the CyberInfrastructure component of the OOI. This will allow 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.