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Images: A Smarter Undersea Robot

Yogesh Girdhar helped build an experimental underwater robot named Aqua as a Ph.D. student in Greg Dudek's lab in McGill University in Montreal. Here, Girdhar sets up Aqua for a mission off Barbados. (Ioannis Rekleitis/McGill University)
Equipped with a wide-angle video camera and six appendage-like mechanical flippers, Aqua was programmed with Girdhar’s specialized algorithms to enable it to be curious—that is, to notice and home in on interesting visual stimuli. (Ioannis Rekleitis/McGill University)
This image shows the robot’s point of view as it is uses curiosity behavior to explore the ocean. Blue circles mark potentially interesting regions in the robot’s view, and the red circle marks the most interesting thing in its view that attracts the robot’s attention. (Yogesh Girdhar, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
Soon Girdhar himself came into Aqua's field view and became the singular source of curiosity for the robot. It continued to follow him around until he stopped swimming, at which point the robot simply hovered over him. (Ioannis Rekleitis/McGill University)
WHOI scientists Yogesh Girdhar, left, and Hanumant Singh would like to take the next step—using the algorithms Girdhar has developed to make robots more curious in larger, better-equipped autonomous underwater vehicles, such as SeaBED (background) developed in Singh's lab. (Sofia Ibarraran)
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is the world's leading non-profit oceanographic research organization. Our mission is to explore and understand the ocean and to educate scientists, students, decision-makers, and the public.
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