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April 2016    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 31, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Goodbye Old Fashioned Compass?

from the April, 2016 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

High frequency radio waves have difficulty penetrating water. That's why GPS, something that has revolutionized the way we find our way to places on land, doesn't work underwater. But Project Ariadna wants to change all that by combing GPS with inertial data fusion technology. Their new device takes a GPS reading at the surface, and then, by means of eleven independent sensors and an extremely sophisticated algorithm, provides a diver with turn-by-turn navigation along a planned route. As a result, a diver will be able to monitor graphically, in real time, his exact position and executed route on a map.

Project Ariadna ( is a scientific project based in Lahti, Finland, with the goal to develop personal underwater navigation technology. It intends to give divers access to all the familiar features of common GPS navigation systems, such as Points of Interest (POI). The list of POIs in the system enables divers to plan intriguing routes, even at new dive sites. It is also possible to add a new POI during a dive to mark new discoveries, as well as to attach them later on underwater photos and videos. The equipment will be available soon, but we don't know the price. The last hurdle, we are told, is to miniaturize it so that it can be worn on the wrist. Watch this space!

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