New Ways To Probe The Depths
The Baltimore fire department recovered the bodies of three passengers of a water taxi that capsized in the Baltimore Harbor March 6 using high-tech sonar and robotic equipment. As a result of having access to the technology, the fire department did not have to send down divers to see underwater.
Marine Sonic Technology in White Marsh, Va., donated the side-scan sonar, and SeaTrepid in Pottstown, Pa., donated the remote-controlled robotic camera, but the fire department also decided to buy the two devices, which totaled about $64,000.
Fire department representative Kevin Cartwright says the fire department is considering sharing the technology with local law enforcement agencies, considering people often fall into the water at the Baltimore Harbor.
Most of Marine Sonic Technology’s customers are law enforcement agencies and the military, says Rob Williamson, marketing director for the company. The sonar, the Sea Scan PC Centurion Splash Proof, which is designed to be pulled through water by a “towfish,” emits and receives ultrasound to create images and then display them on a computer screen that is readable outdoors, and uses a Global Positioning System to record the location of images.
VideoRay Pro II, a robot the size of a shoebox with a 250-foot cable that is controlled using a joystick aboard a boat, is equipped with a camera that provided the fire department with an even closer look of the images picked up by the sonar. SeaTrepid says the robotic camera is primarily used for search-and-rescue operations.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Washington Post (03/22/04) P. B2; Arzua, Lila .