Researchers at the University of Buffalo, New York, have trialled an 'underwater Wi-Fi' network in Lake Erie towards south of downtown Buffalo, as part of efforts to create a 'deep-sea internet'.
The National Science Foundation-funded project is aimed at creating an approved standard for underwater communications, in a bid to facilitate interaction and data-sharing.
University of Buffalo electrical engineering associate professor Tommaso Melodia said a submerged wireless network will offer an unprecedented ability to collect and analyse data from oceans in real time.
"Making this information available to anyone with a smartphone or computer, especially when a tsunami or other type of disaster occurs, could help save lives," Melodia said.
During the trial, researchers dropped two 40lb (18kg) sensors into the water and transmitted information to them via a laptop.
The new technology would assist in detecting tsunamis by offering more reliable warning systems, monitor pollution, collect oceanographic data and carryout surveillance, in addition to several military and law enforcement applications, researchers claim.
"We could even use it to monitor fish and marine mammals, and find out how to best protect them from shipping traffic and other dangers," Melodia added.
"An Internet underwater has so many possibilities."