SeeSense outfits Toshiba camera system for deep views

In preparation for a scientific research project next year, a Toshiba IK-HD1 camera has been successfully tested to a depth of 4,300m (14,000ft).

The test took place in the Atlantic Ocean, off the Canary Islands, from a specially fitted research ship sailing from Lisbon, Portugal. It involved testing different types of lighting systems to work in conjunction with the Toshiba camera.

All components were installed into a titanium housing fitted with a port consisting of a 25mm thick block of optically flat glass, in order to handle underwater pressures of 421 bar (6114 psi). The complete assembly, including the lighting system, was lowered on a rig to depths of around 4,300m.

The HD images produced show a stainless steel weight suspended from the rig to gauge its distance from the ocean floor. The weight is seen bouncing along the ocean floor as waves move the research ship back on the surface.

Nigel Paine, managing director of SeeSense, a small POV camera company, supplied the Toshiba camera, cable, lens and recorder. An HD clip from the recording can be viewed on line from the SeeSense website.

Paine said the footage produced demonstrates just how good the Toshiba IK-HD1 3-CCD camera sensitivity is despite its size, especially at these extreme depths.

“The clarity of the images is demonstrated by the test rig bottoming out on the ocean floor. Individual grains of sand can be seen stirred up from the ocean floor as well as a piece of coral being broken off by the stainless steel weight,” he said.

This deep underwater achievement follows the Toshiba Space Chair project — an advertisement promoting Toshiba's Regza television — that was produced and broadcast in 2009-2010. In the creation of this advertisement, Toshiba IK-HR1S 1/3in 1-CMOS HD cameras were used to produce HD footage of an armchair suspended from a weather balloon.

For this project, the cameras attained an altitude of almost 30,000me (99,268ft).