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Giant Octopus: History of Shadow Development

Shadow 1-2-3: Steps in technology design

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Shadow at work - Artist's conception

The illustration above depicts the original conception of Shadow - a small, autonomous robot that would follow and film an octopus for several days before returning to the surface for scientists to collect the video data.

Shadow is being designed and built for the Octopus Project as a joint effort by student research teams in the Marine Biology Program (Alaska Pacific University, APU), the Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering Department (AME, University of Arizona), and at the Colorado School of Mines.

Shadow III tethered pool test

Shadow III

The third generation Shadow prototype (2001-2003), right, will operate in two modes: as a tethered, self-powered, semi-autonomous UUV (unmanned underwater vehicle) or as a fully autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). In semi-autonomous mode, Shadow III will track the target animal and control depth; while a user at the surface will handle obstacle avoidance and navigation via a video link. Shadow III will be tested as a UUV during Spring and Summer 2003. As a AUV, Shadow III will also handle obstacle avoidance via active sonar and navigation through use of fixed locational beacons. AUV mode will be developed and tested beginning in Fall 2003 (and pending further support). Shadow III is shown here during a pool test in the summer of 2002.

Shadow II in operation

Shadow II

The second generation Shadow prototype (2000-2001) was a tethered, self-powered ROV that addressed power and control of movement in three dimensions. It was successfully pool-tested but could not be altered for further development, thus leading to a third generation, Shadow III. This model was a joint product of AME and the Marine Biology Program (APU). It was designed and built by an undergraduate student design team as their Senior Project in AME.

Shadow I - a submersible learning tool

Shadow I

The first generation prototype, right, (1999-2000) was a one-dimensional submersible learning tool built by an AME student design team for the Octopus project. It demonstrated principles of bouyancy and depth control programming.


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