PROTEUS™: A new undersea laboratory serving aquanauts, marine robotics, and sensor networks

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B18, Fellowship Hall


PROTEUS™ is a new underwater laboratory conceived by Fabien Cousteau, underwater explorer, conservationist, and aquanaut. Dubbed the International Space Station of the World Ocean, PROTEUS™ allows larger teams to have continuous presence on the seafloor for periods of months. The laboratory will feature sophisticated wet and dry labs, a broadcast studio for education and collaboration, and will be connected to a distributed network of robots and sensors. The first PROTEUS™ will be located at the edge of the mesophotic zone on a coral reef in Curaçao, Dutch Antilles. Future stations will be located world-wide in a variety of marine ecosystems. 

PROTEUS™ is designed to attract a wide variety of users. Academic institutions studying global change in the ocean, pharma companies seeking new drugs from marine organisms, blue tech companies from aquaculture, sensing, and robotics, space exploration and space tourism trainers, and national defense agencies and their associated industries, have all expressed strong interest. The Proteus Ocean Group has recently forged formal relationships with the Government of Curaçao, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the US Navy.

We will provide an overview of the facility, the business model, and the important role to be played by robotics and AI/ML. Our operational vision includes heavy reliance on autonomous vehicles working alongside aquanauts to increase the pace and scope of discoveries. Advances in human-machine interfaces, edge computing, and AI will figure heavily in surmounting challenges in observing and understand the ocean. PROTEUS™ will provide many interesting challenges for robotics research and AI and we hope you will join us in this adventure.



Lisa Truitt, Chief Business Development & Creative Officer, Proteus Ocean Group

Lisa has spent three decades telling stories about science and the oceans, with 25+ years as an award-winning filmmaker and business leader at National Geographic. She led the creative team to imagine and bring to life a ground-breaking 60,000 sq. ft. venue in Times Square, New York, that allowed the public to experience the ocean in an immersive, interactive walk-through setting. Her work with the Proteus Ocean Group includes negotiations with business partners, government agencies, donors, and academia, along with messaging and public engagement. She looks forward to telling stories from the bottom of the sea when PROTEUS™ splashes!


Mark Patterson, Professor of Marine & Environmental Sciences/Civil & Environmental Engineering, Northeastern University; Science Advisor, Proteus Ocean Group

Mark is a marine scientist, explorer, and serial entrepreneur. An aquanaut with 89 days spent in saturation over his career, he has helped launch companies that make autonomous underwater vehicles, and advanced sensors for microplastics. He is excited that the first PROTEUS™ will be sited on a coral reef as these fragile ecosystems desperately need sustainable solutions if they are to be preserved for future generations.