There's a new TV show called Bering Sea Gold : Under the Ice that follows a
group of "gold prospectors" dredging for gold under the ice in the Bering
Sea. You can see some videos of it at
It's very dangerous work.
There's a sluice box on the boat that separates the gold from all the rest
of what they suction up.
But down below they actually have to dive down with a high-suction hose and
suction up the loose sand (and,hopefully, gold) by hand.
I repeat, It can be very dangerous work. One diver got her hand sucked up
into the hose. Also, the divers can only work for so long before the extreme
cold gets to them. This is the Bering Sea, after all.
So, I'm thinking, how about an undersea, remotely operated robot to do the
dangerous work? I would base it on those simple multi-legged robots, rather
than a wheeled robot, so that it can easily traverse the bottom. Add a
number of video cameras, attach the suction hose, and you could operate it for
hours and hours at a time from the safety and comfort of the boat.
We've got plenty of ocean around here in which to test it out. And the
Bering Sea is only a short boat ride North. OK, that's a bit of a stretch. But
it would be a really interesting project, and possibly very lucrative.
Anyone up for building a Gold-Bot?
- Roger Garrett