When the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution upgraded and returned its famous “Alvin” submarine (which located the S.S. Titanic) to service this year, Atlantis II (the research vessel that transports Alvin) required a newly engineered, rugged camera system mandated by U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command (NavSea).
Atlantis II’s new IP (internet protocol), pan-tilt-zoom camera system is located on the ship’s stern-positioned A-frame, and the crew operates the Moog EXO Stainless Steel Camera System from Atlantis’ “doghouse,” pictured.
Why a camera system on the A-frame? Why not rely on visual inspection alone? The launch & recovery system (LARS) of the sub is operated from the Atlantis doghouse, which has the hydraulic controls for the LARS and prevents Alvin from dropping (if the rope failed). NavSea requires operators to see this pin continuously whenever launching Alvin. It’s impossible to see the locking mechanism when Alvin is suspended from the A-frame because of the size of the refurbished Alvin. When not using the LARS, the camera doubles as a security camera for at-sea deck operations or dock security.
Why this camera system? The Atlantis and its A-frame experience jittering from a complex series of hydraulic rams. Ordinary marine cameras can’t take the intense vibration. The Atlantis can also experience 30- to 40-foot swells at sea, and the Moog EXO Stainless Steel Camera System is the only technology engineered to survive the G-forces in this environment. If the camera housing were to crack, even a micron wide, the seawater would rush into the system like a sprinkler head. So the camera system is rugged enough to withstand not only vibration but also shock and corrosive seawater and air.
Filed Under: Vision • machine vision • cameras + lenses • frame grabbers • optical filters