April 27, 2009

MIT Hosts Volvo Ocean Race Showcase of Inmarsat Technology Allowing High-Definition Video Transmission from Open Seas

Andrea Cohen, MIT Sea Grant: E: alcohen@mit.edu ; T: 617 253-3461
Josie Patterson, MIT Museum: E: josiep@mit.edu ; T: 617 253-4422

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—On Wednesday, May 13th, at 6:00 p.m., MIT will host an evening symposium to showcase the groundbreaking high-definition footage captured midway through this year’s Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) and the innovative technology enabling transmission from the open seas. This new technology holds much promise for ocean-based data telemetry, and will be celebrated at the MIT Museum in an event for students, sailing aficionados and all others. Scenes from the footage awarded the Inmarsat Media Prize for the Rio-to-Boston leg of this exciting race will also be shown.

Formerly known as the Whitbread Round the World Race, the Volvo Ocean Race is a round-the-world yacht race run now run every two years. This year’s competition started in Alicante, Spain in October and will conclude in June in St. Petersburg, Russia, when the boats will have traveled approximately 37,000 nautical miles, with stopovers in Cape Town, Kochi, Singapore, Qingdao, Rio de Janeiro, Boston, Galway, Goteborg and Stockholm.

For the first time in the 37-year history of the race, each boat carries an on-board videographer and a recently launched satellite communications service called Inmarsat FleetBroadband, which enables high-speed data transmission from across the world’s oceans. With Fleetbroadband, the VOR’s videographers are able to capture and transmit high-definition video shot during the race for use on broadcast TV and the web in near real time.

Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad will open the event with an overview of the race. VOR videographers who have filmed and edited during the grueling race will be featured in a roundtable discussion, along with background on the technology.

The symposium is sponsored by the MIT Museum, The MIT Sea Grant College Program, and Inmarsat. The symposium is free and open to the public; please register at: http://seagrant.mit.edu/VOR_registration.php .