Is it possible to use Marvelmind indoor positioning system underwater?

Explanations and hints

Question: Assuming proper waterproofing of your system and clear communication between the four base stations, could it be applied for underwater positioning tasks?

In theory – yes. But in practice, too many things shall be changed:
  • Transducers must be different. Very different. There are many underwater transducers – they look like a ceramic thing. The difference between air and water in terms of acoustic resistance is drastic. You cannot just waterproof and use the same transducers. They will be highly inefficient in transferring ultrasound energy to the water
  • Currently, our system relies on radio for clock synchronization. Underwater, it wouldn’t be possible. A very large part of the system – clock synchronization – must be different. We have a solution for some cases. But that must be redone anyway to start using our system underwater

Question: Would you be interested in creating such a system? Shall we expect it from Marvelmind?

We would be happy to engage if there is a large enough order or a particularly strong interest. We have played with the idea and some solutions for underwater positioning system several times over the years but we haven’t produced a commercial product yet for several reasons:

  • We had to focus on the existing indoor positioning systems, robots, and drones
  • We need a large enough order to engage in a new project of this sort
  • The underwater solution is even less generic for underwater than for the ultrasound-based tracking in the air: tracking of recreational scuba divers is one thing and an underwater positioning system for robots is very different thing in practical terms: types of beacons, power supply, distances requirements, weight, depth, etc.
  • To test, we need to have access to the water of large size – sea or lakes – that we normally don’t have
  • There is a substantial difference between tracking in the fresh and sea waters, cold and warm waters
  • Requirements for depth may significantly impact the solution
  • There are quite a few players on the market already. Still the price may be prohibitive for many applications

So, in short, it is not single solution but a bunch of different solutions that very directly depend on the use cases and requirements.

Thus, if there is a large enough order, we will be happy to engage and offer a solution for underwater positioning and navigation as well.

P.S. I am a certified PADI Divemaster and a happy underwater videographer myself. Thus, there is not only business but personal interest as well – to push the boundaries of what is available for the wider public.

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