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Explore the deep sea onboard UW's new locally made submarine

Explore the deep sea onboard UW's new locally made submarine
Cyclops, five-person submarine currently being built by researchers at the University of Washington and OceanGate Inc. (Photo courtesy OceanGate).

SEATTLE - Ever wonder what it would be like to explore the deep sea by submarine? Researchers at the University of Washington, with help from a local submersible company, are working on a plan to do just that - creating a manned submarine that will be available not only for research but also for the commercial market.

"What a terrific asset for the UW to have access to one of the few available manned submarines in the U.S.," Robert Miyamoto said in a statement.

Miyamoto, the director for defense and industry programs with UW's Applied Physics Laboratory, and his research team have partnered with OceanGate Inc., an Everett-based company that charters submarine trips, to create the five-person sub, named Cyclops.

The team recently settled on a design plan using a carbon-fiber hull shaped like a bullet. A lithium-polymer battery will power the sub, which according to project researchers, will make it lighter, faster and able to reach depths only a handful of other submarines can.

Cyclops will also feature a 5-foot-wide glass dome where passengers will be able to sit and take in a 180-degree view.

The sub is expected to be ready for research and commercial use by 2016.

Stockton Rush, CEO of OceanGate, said they plan to use the manned sub to target the oil and gas industry, deep-sea mining, pharmaceutical exploration, academic research and the tourism industry.