This project is funded by Canarie's Intelligent Infrastructure Program (CIIP) and is being conducted with the participation of partners Colin Bradley, Chris Barnes (NEPTUNE), and Verena Tunnicliffe (VENUS), all of the University of Victoria, and industrial partner FlexMet Technologies.
The "Undersea Window" Project will transmit live full broadcast standard high definition video from a camera on the undersea VENUS network, 100m below the surface of the Saanich Inlet on Vancouver Island, to scientists, educators and the public throughout Canada and around the world via CA*net 4 and inter-connected broadband networks. The Project will serve as a test bed for subsequent high definition video camera deployment on the NEPTUNE network in the Pacific Ocean
VENUS is an ambitious project to conduct coastal oceanography in an innovative and informative way. It is a network of instruments in the ocean to observe the marine waters around southern Vancouver Island. Measurements, images, and sound will be transmitted via fibre-optic cables which will also deliver power for instruments, lights, and remotely operated vehicles. For the first time, researchers will not have to wait for data from periodically recovered instruments - it will be delivered in real time. The subsequent NEPTUNE project will lay a 3,000 km network of powered fibre optic cable on the seabed over the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate. The network will feature a number of seafloor laboratories, or nodes, from which land-based scientists will control sampling instruments, video cameras and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) as they collect data. Instruments will be interactive -- scientists will instruct them to respond to events such as storms, plankton blooms, fish migrations, earthquakes, tsunamis, and underwater volcanic eruptions, as they happen. The "Undersea Window" Project will use Web Services to interactively control the camera and video transmission from across the continent. The challenge is to minimize latency to enable camera control input, such as panning and zooming, in reaction to camera responses observed in the transmitted video stream. It is expected that the Web Services software devloped by the Project to control the high definition video camera will be later adapted to control other instruments on the seafloor. The undersea portion of the transmission between the camera and the shore station will employ a dedicated fibre and modified bi-directional laser transmitter/receivers. From the shore station, video transmission will use the CA*net 4 network and existing video over IP software developed by McGill. Due to the high bandwidth requirement for high definition video transmission, lightpaths will be used. This will enable the testing and comparison of UCLP software developed by both CRC/UOttawa and UQAM. Deployment of the camera on the VENUS network involves use of an undersea remotely operated vehicle. The vehicle must not only be able to place the camera safely and accurately, but also attach the fibre-optic communication and power supply cable that interfaces with the VENUS network node. This will provide valuable experience for the later NEPTUNE network where the same tasks must be done at far greater depths.
The ultimate deliverable is an underwater high definition video camera on the VENUS network transmitting live 720p60 format video over CA*net 4 to McGill University in Montreal where the camera can be interactively controlled using web services. Note that the undersea portion of the transmission between the camera and the shore station will employ a dedicated fibre and modified application specific bi-directional laser transmitter/receivers. From the shore station, video transmission will use the CA*net 4 network and existing video over IP software developed by McGill which is being modified for high definition video transmission. Putting together this hybrid system and assuring that the components operate together seamlessly involves overcoming a number of challenges, the solutions to which will be the main deliverables: