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Ditching the drone?

MITO, a drone designed for underwater filming. Image credit: Navatics

As every year CES, the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas, is the stage for new ideas and new products that are actually looking for a new market. Yes, you get new products generation like more gigantic television screens, thinner to the point that you can fold them or roll them up, new digital cameras…. but all of them represent a continuity in an already existing market.

Navatics, on the contrary, is showcasing MITO, a drone that has morphed into a submarine.

MITO is small, you can take it on board an airplane as hand luggage, and it lets you filming underwater, from the convenience of a couch on the beach at 4K resolution (30 frames per second).

It was an idea looking for funding in May 2018 (on Kickstarter, see the clip) and now it is being showcased at CES 2019, available for pre-order at 1499 $.

It has a tether linking it to a buoy on the surface. This is needed to allow communication since WiFi does not work through water (the WiFi frequency is absorbed quickly by water molecules). The tether conveys moving direction to MITO and brings back the images picked up by the camera. The underwater drone is as stable as its siblings flying in the air. It can hover on a place as well as track a school of coral fish and move in synch with them. Differently from its sibling that have weight constrain, MITO carries larger batteries providing up to 4 hours of operation time.

You can control it from your sun chair (or from the boat), provided the buoy stays within 500 meters of you. Also, it is going to be easier to control than a drone moving at slower speed and in a much more forgiving medium.

I am pretty sure that we are going to see MITO as a standard equipment in tours to coral reefs and it will be a popular for rent gadget in the coming years.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.