The PICASSO-1 is the primary vehicle in a system of small remotely-operated vehicles developed to survey plankton and other deep sea organisms at a range of sizes using imaging tools such as a high definition television camera, an underwater microscope called the Autonomous Visual Plankton Recorder (AVPR) and metal halide and red/white LED illumination.It can be deployed from a chartered diving boat so is quite flexible in its survey operations.
The Sekisei Lagoon where the present survey was carried out is situated between Ishigaki Island and Iriomote Island.
The mothership “Seagull”, a chartered dive boat for SCUBA diving.
PICASSO and all the associated equipment were shipped to Ishigaki Island in this shipping container.
Preparation for diving operations. The PICASSO system is being developed through an ongoing collaboration between marine biologists and engineering researchers.
Testing of the newly-developed deployment and retrieval system for PICASSO-1. This is the first time PICASSO has been deployed from a ship without an A-frame, davit or crane. The aft hydraulic platform was slowly lowered while letting out the ropes to give PICASSO-1 a soft landing into the ocean. With this system it has become possible to deploy PICASSO from any ship around the world with an aft hydraulic platform. Surveys off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia are planned for next year.
After arrival at the dive site we run through a pre-dive checklist of 141 different items to ensure smooth operations.
Everybody needs to pull their weight to get PICASSO in the water.
Start the dive!
PICASSO is “driven” using these three monitors. On the left is the realtime HDTV video feed, central is the screen showing PICASSO’s vital statistics such as thruster angle, and the direction in which the vehicle is pointing, and on the right is the monitor showing the GPS position of the ship and acoustically-derived vehicle location.
“Hey, check that out! What great video!” the researchers exclaim as they watch the monitors. On the left is the PICASSO Project Leader Dhugal Lindsay. On the right is Dr. Jun Nishikawa from the Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute of the University of Tokyo.
Video taken by the high definition television camera on board the PICASSO.
The lights of PICASSO are positioned such to give depth to the images and illuminate the edges of objects to maximum definition.
At a depth of 50 m we were able to observe table coral and reef fish while undisturbed, without being pulled mercilessly by a tether taut to the mother ship.
The present survey was conducted by PICASSO Team members from JAMSTEC, the Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute (AORI) of the University of Tokyo, Osaka University, Kowa Inc. and Takizawa Manufacturing Corp.
Footage for a television program was also taken by a TV crew.
On 7 November the present survey will be introduced on Asahi TV program “The miracles of Earth”.