Israeli invention obviates divers’ need for periscopes

Prof. Yoav Shechner and doctoral student Marina Alterman experiment with the Stella Maris camera, which enables divers and submarines to see above the surface of the water without a periscope. Credit: Technion.

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Researchers from the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology have developed a new apparatus that enables divers and submarines to see above the surface of the water without a periscope.

The traditional periscope has been used by divers and submarine sailors for more than a century, but its main weakness is that using it exposes the ship or diver to detection.

Prof. Yoav Shechner and doctoral students Marina Alterman and Yohay Swirski from the Technion’s electrical engineering department have built a camera that rests underwater and can see above the water level without breaking the surface.

“Distortions that are random in space, time and viewpoint are created when viewing objects through a wavy water-air interface. Such distortions are also created in turbulence. In both cases, the distortion is caused by dynamic refraction,” Shechner’s website says.

“We have just devised a passive system to counter distortions caused by water waves, in a single-viewpoint and instant. This single-frame approach is deterministic: It can be stand-alone, or be an enabler for stochastic methods,” adds the website.

The camera, named Stella Maris (Latin for “Star of the Sea” and short for Stellar Marine Refractive Imaging Sensor), will be displayed this weekend at a leading electronic imaging conference in California.

Posted on April 30, 2014 .