From coral health to underwater drones - a day at Trondheim Developer Conference

It has been said that an industrial revolution is unfolding under the seas. As the rapid development in artificial intelligence, robotics and big data is used in the ocean-industry, many new opportunities of ocean use and research are emerging to the surface. I attended Trondheim Developer Conference to learn more about these opportunites. 

The stand area. Photo credit: Wil Lee-Wright Photography, Trondheim Developer Conference

The stand area. Photo credit: Wil Lee-Wright Photography, Trondheim Developer Conference

This monday I attended the Trondheim Developer Conference, an annual community driven event for developers and digital designers. As a math student and self-declared science geek, I always fancy attending conferences like this as it is an area for learning, networking and dialogue across different aspects of the tech community. This years main topic was artificial intelligence and machine learning, topics of increasing interest in a broad amount of industries over the past few years, including the ocean-industry.

Paul Anton Letnes during his talk. Photo credit: Wil Lee-Wright Photography, Trondheim Developer Conference

Paul Anton Letnes during his talk. Photo credit: Wil Lee-Wright Photography, Trondheim Developer Conference

One of the speakers was Paul Anton Letnes, a physicist currently working as an data analyst for Ecotone, a NTNU spinn-off with a vision to map the sea floor. Whereas the health of tropical corals are routinely monitored using remote sensing techniques, no such established technique exists for deep-water corals. It is often repeated that the sea floor and its mysteries are less well known than the surface of Mars, though you may argue whether or not that’s correct. In his speech, Letnes talked about mapping the sea floor using underwater hyperspectral imaging in order to detect changes in health status of different coral species. The goal is to develop a remote sensing technique to monitor large deep-water coral habitats underwater.

During his speech in artificial intelligence, Axel Tidemann, a research scientist at Telenor Research, talked about his previous work at SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture using machine learning to research intelligent fish farming. As the conference went on, Alexander Vanvik and Martin Rechsteiner from EGGs Design did a speech on their work to make the world under the sea accessible to anyone. Together with Blueye Robotics, a norwegian startup company, they are working on their mission to create the best underwater drone the world has ever seen. The drone will work as a digital diving suit and will give anyone with a smartphone the opportunity to explore the wonders of ocean without fancy scuba gear or expensive professional ROV's.

Jo Røislien, another speaker at TDC. Photo credit: Wil Lee-Wright Photography, Trondheim Developer Conference

Jo Røislien, another speaker at TDC. Photo credit: Wil Lee-Wright Photography, Trondheim Developer Conference

The developer conference made me aware of the many marine applications of artificial intelligence and I realized that my passion for marine science can be perfectly combined with my love for mathematics and computer programming. There are so many career opportunities for tech students in the ocean industry as a broad range of competence is needed in the years to come. Whole new sectors of ocean use and research are opening up, so I would recommend you all to stay updated!