Researchers To Stream Live Video of Century-Old Shipwreck From Depths of New England Coast

Publish date:

WALLINGFORD, Conn. - July 11, 2006 -

VBrick Systems, Inc.

, an industry leader in affordable video over IP network solutions, today announced that it is helping to provide live streaming video that will enable global audiences to explore two schooners sunk off the Massachusetts coast 103 years ago. Scientists and archaeologists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Undersea Research Center at the University of Connecticut (NURC-UConn) will lead the exploration via a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) controlled from a ship above the wreck site in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

Researchers will provide live, 30-minute presentations on Saturday, July 15, 2006 at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. EDT. The streamed presentations will be available online at

and at the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center in Massachusetts. VBrick enables presenters to blend real-time audio/video from the ocean floor with live, synchronized PowerPoint slides that provide the audience with added content and insight into underwater exploration. This feature allows the researchers to incorporate previous research images of the wreck to provide historical context and compare the condition of the wreck from last year.

The wooden schooners - Frank A. Palmer and Louise B. Crary - sank after their 1902 collision in Massachusetts Bay. Today the ships sit upright on the sanctuary seafloor, still joined at the bow. NOAA and NURC-UConn scientists have visited the wrecks annually since 2003 with an ROV to monitor, study, and document their condition. The National Park Service added the shipwreck site to the National Register of Historic Places in April 2006.

The schooners‘ location within the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary provides protection unavailable in other federal waters off Massachusetts. Sanctuary regulations prohibit moving or removing any sanctuary historical resource, including shipwreck artifacts. The sanctuary is virtually the size of Rhode Island and is located in federal waters north of Cape Cod. Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary supports a diverse wildlife ecosystem and is a renowned feeding area for humpback whales and other marine mammals.

“The two schooners resting on the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary seafloor provide unique insight into New England‘s robust maritime history as well as the dynamics of the Sanctuary‘s vibrant underwater ecosystem,” said Ivar Babb, director, National Undersea Research Center at the University of Connecticut. “We are excited to offer global Internet users a live, interactive window into the rich resources of this special area.”

Streaming Video from the Ocean Floor

The ROV includes an underwater camera that transmits video to a VBrick digital video appliance located on the research ship. The VBrick appliance encodes the video into Windows Media format and sends the live, compressed video signal to an onboard radio transmitter. The transmitter then beams the video signal more than 20 miles to a receiver on shore, and from there to a live audience in Gloucester, Massachusetts and to an Internet Services Provider, which then streams the video in real time over the Internet. Approximately the size of a dictionary, the VBrick appliance is portable, reliable, and easy to manage - all critical considerations for remote streaming.

In addition to streaming video from the ROV, researchers will be able to add multimedia to the presentation to enrich the online viewing experience. Researchers will use a laptop that includes VBrick‘s VBPresenter, a software add-in that enables users to manage all multimedia presentation capabilities using the native Microsoft PowerPoint interface - thereby eliminating the need to learn new applications. VBPresenter guided web browsing enables users to incorporate embedded video and flash animation by launching specified web pages. Audience polling and Q&A features enable users to send questions or polls to online viewers in real time.

“We are thrilled to support important NOAA and NURC-UConn research that catalogues New England‘s maritime past and tracks the evolution of the ever-changing sea,” said Rich Mavrogeanes, founder and CTO, VBrick Systems, Inc. “This is VBrick‘s latest in a long line of marine research events that include exploration of the Black Sea and return to the Titanic. Viewers are ready to enjoy the underwater exploration online without thinking twice about the technology. This initiative illustrates the power, reliability, and portability of VBrick‘s streaming products.”

About the NOAA

The NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program manages 13 national marine sanctuaries and one coral reef ecosystem reserve that together encompass more than 150,000 square miles of America‘s ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resources. The sanctuary program seeks to increase public awareness of America‘s marine resources and maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration, and educational programs.

The NOAA National Undersea Research Program funds six research centers around the country at major universities. The National Undersea Research Center for the North Atlantic and Great Lakes (

) is located at the University of Connecticut at Avery Point. This center supports and conducts research in the waters off the northeast coast of the U.S. including the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank, Southern New England Bight including Long Island Sound and the Great Lakes.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation‘s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with our federal partners and 60 countries to develop a global Earth observation network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts, and protects.

About VBrick Systems, Inc.

VBrick Systems, Inc. creates and delivers innovative networked video solutions that enhance communications and reduce costs for organizations around the world. VBrick‘s broad range of video solutions provide the simplest and most reliable visual communications to businesses, educational institutions, and government agencies ranging in use from distributing news and information to distance-learning, training, and surveillance. VBrick, an ISO 9001:2000 certified company, has garnered numerous industry accolades including the Deloitte Technology Fast 500, Connecticut Technology Fast 50, and the National Association of Broadcaster‘s (NAB) Award for Innovation in Media in the Content Delivery category. Based in Wallingford, Connecticut, USA, VBrick‘s products are distributed through industry-leading value-added resellers, system integrators, and distributors. Find out more at




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