As Hawaiian residents and visitors hunker down to avoid the force of what could be two oncoming hurricanes, a robot is swimming straight into the path of the storms, tweeting photos as it goes.
Built by Silicon Valley's Liquid Robotics, Holoholo is a Wave Glider SV3, essentially a self-powered sea-faring data center designed as a system to give users -- generally researchers or marine industry companies -- the ability to investigate open seas for months at a time. SV3s have a hybrid propulsion system that can drive the robot with either solar or wave power. They also have a vectored thruster that allows it to keep going in both high seas and dead calms.
Can you see what I see? pic.twitter.com/zQtPGONf2U
-- Wave Glider Holoholo (@Holoholo_WG) August 7, 2014
Right now, most Hawaiians are likely wishing for dead calms, but they're getting high seas. But that's a boon for Liquid Robotics, which markets the $300,000 SV3 to companies in the oil and gas industries, as well as fisheries, coast guards, and the military. The 270-pound robot, which has underwater wings, carries a package of sensors, and its power management system is meant to support on-board servers continuously capturing and analyzing data about conditions at sea, and transmitting it via satellite communications.
The SV3 has a data-center like architecture that lets multiple users each have their own simultaneous data gathering and crunching, independent of the others. The on-board computers do most of the processing locally, and transmits conclusions via high-bandwidth, low-power connectivity rather than sending large amounts of raw data that has to be analyzed when it is received. Liquid Robotics CEO Bill Vass told CNET last year that the SV3's architecture makes it something like the Amazon Web Services -- the e-commerce giant's cloud-server system -- of the sea.