Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Education

USF underwater robot takes to Twitter

From the depths of the Gulf of Mexico, a solar-powered robot is sending a message — in 140 characters or less.

Yes, the newest member of the University of South Florida marine science fleet of underwater research sensors has taken to Twitter.

It has even mastered the use of hashtags.

But don't expect juicy gossip or sexy photos from @Tavros02.

Its approach is more of the "here's-what-I-had-for-breakfast," if you will.

Mundane, and maybe a little bit TMI.

Every 20 minutes, Tavros02's 45 followers get an update on its exact location and the temperature, saltiness and pressure of the water around it.

Take this one, sent at 3:30 p.m.: "TIME=15:29:32 LAT=27.761809 LON=-82.634990 HEAD=287.30 ALT=2.71 DEP=1.14 TEM=26.16 CON=46075 #USF #AUV."

"We're kind of geeks in some ways," said Tavros02's inventor, USF marine systems engineer David Fries. "Both the environment and machines are things we don't naturally communicate with."

Fries says Tavros02's tweeting is more than a novelty. He envisions the messages being used to give researchers alerts about oil spills or red tides, to give fishing reports, to alert port officials about possible security breaches or to educate students.

"It becomes a really interesting way to distribute messages to a whole group of people," Fries said.

His team has spent more than a decade developing the underwater sensing technology that brought to life Tavros02, whose name is Greek for bull and also an acronym for The Autonomous Vehicle and Remotely-Operated Sensing.

The robot is just one of many that USF's marine science researchers work with, boosted with a grant from the National Science Foundation in the months following the 2010 BP oil spill in the gulf.

USF gliders helped detect and analyze underwater oil plumes that summer, showing the extent of the contamination.

But aside from the scientific opportunities, Tavros02's independent tweeting also prompts a heady conversation about communication in general.

It's not just for humans anymore.

#mindblown

"You have this real sense that it's something that has pseudo-intelligence in there," Fries said. He pointed out that in a conversation with a reporter, they've been referring to Tavros02 as a "he."

"It's more personal."

Kim Wilmath can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3337.

Comments
Hillsborough school district, teachers move closer to pay deal

Hillsborough school district, teachers move closer to pay deal

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District and its teachers’ union moved closer to resolving their salary dispute during Monday’s negotiating session — but stopped short of reaching an agreement.The teachers, who have spent this school year work...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Parents score victory in effort to make travel safer for Westchase students

Parents score victory in effort to make travel safer for Westchase students

TAMPA — Hillsborough County school leaders call it courtesy busing, but to Lauren Hawkins it’s more a matter of life and death.More students living close to their schools in the Westchase community used the Hillsborough school district’s courtesy bus...
Published: 05/21/18
Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

A day after England’s royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, St. Petersburg hosted a royal celebration of its own. Among the estimated 500 graduates to receive an Eckerd College diploma at Sunday’s graduation ceremony held...
Published: 05/20/18
Updated: 05/21/18

Hooper: SEL lends a solution to the increasingly toxic world of kids

An incident recently arose between students at Jesuit High School and Academy of the Holy Names that involved allegations of cyberbullying, homophobia, misogyny and assault.It only involved a fraction of the students at two of Tampa’s most prestigiou...
Updated: 8 hours ago
At vigil, another school mourns: ‘It is hope in the face of tragedy that brings us together today.’

At vigil, another school mourns: ‘It is hope in the face of tragedy that brings us together today.’

SANTA FE, Texas - They gathered here by the dozens Friday evening, wearing their school colors, T-shirts that said "Texas Tough," while huddling under the shade of a gaggle of pine trees, not 11 hours after the first shots were fired.They came to pra...
Published: 05/19/18
‘I always felt it would eventually happen here’: A Santa Fe High School survivor’s reaction to the shooting

‘I always felt it would eventually happen here’: A Santa Fe High School survivor’s reaction to the shooting

Paige Curry tried to keep calm Friday morning as a gunman tore through her Santa Fe High School, eventually killing 10 people and injuring another 10. The 17-year-old watched as a girl nearby panicked. Curry, herself terrified, considered running out...
Published: 05/19/18
Class of 2018: Meet the valedictorians and salutatorians for Pinellas private high schools

Class of 2018: Meet the valedictorians and salutatorians for Pinellas private high schools

Before they could get away, we asked the top graduates at Pinellas County’s private schools to write a Twitter-length paragraph about what’s on their mind. We suggested they reflect on the past or the future, or talk about the people who helped them ...
Published: 05/18/18
Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

TAMPA — For those who fear there is no hope, or help, or heart left in this world, there is the story of Anita Morgan.There are any number of life-wrenching places to begin …In the middle of the night, in the back of a police car, cruising over the b...
Published: 05/18/18
Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

TAMPA — For those who fear there is no hope, or help, or heart left in this world, there is the story of Anita Morgan.There are any number of life-wrenching places to begin …In the middle of the night, in the back of a police car, cruising over the b...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Florida teacher accused of drowning raccoons in class placed on leave

Florida teacher accused of drowning raccoons in class placed on leave

A Florida teacher was placed on administrative leave after school officials were told that he had students help him drown wild raccoons during class.A 14-second video published by CBS affiliate WKMG showed a group of students filling a tub of water u...
Published: 05/17/18