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Acoustics 2008: Burglar Alarm for Ancient Shipwrecks

For all those interested in great naval disasters, lost underwater cities, shipwrecks, or The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, you might be interested in SEA-GUARD, an underwater intruder alarm system developed by Turkish scientists and presented at this year's Acoustical Society of America (ASA) meeting in Paris.

According to the authors of the paper, it is estimated that there are still about 1 million undiscovered ancient shipwrecks settled over the vast ocean floor. As more and more discoveries are made in the future, the potential for theft of valuable artifacts and damage to found vessels and cargo presents a challenge to those seeking to preserve these deep sea relics.

SEA-GUARD aims to protect these archaeological sites from unwanted or unauthorized visitors. It works by monitoring the underwater acoustic field, or sound waves surrounding the archaeological site.

Comprised of two sensor packages (one on the sea floor at the site, the other at a surface buoy), the device can detect unusual activity from disruptions in nearby sound waves. Not only that, artificial intelligence allows SEA-GUARD to analyze the specific behavior of an intruder, hence it is unlikely to confuse 5 grown men with a school of fish. Finally, once a genuine threat is confirmed, the system can send an alarm to authorities on land, via cable. Time to start searching for that buried treasure!


  1. Burglar alarms that are installed in homes use the basic principle of alarm system. By simply using the electrical flow, all alarm companies in southern california trigger to the sound when conditions are met.


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