Underwater No One Can Hear You Shout Timber

The words "submarine" and "lumberjack" don't tend to find themselves in the same sentence. However, an American company is set to change not only that, but also the traditional view of lumberjacks and logging as one of the great enemies of Environmentalism.

Triton have developed the Sawfish Underwater Harvester, a device that looks like a cross between an angry fridge and a chainsaw-wielding Dalek and may, if it takes off, provide a solution to the twin problems of the world's need for lumber and the environmental damage that need can cause.

The Sawfish, piloted remotely, can operate beyond the 25m depth grapples or divers are limited to and has a number of fringe benefits. The most obvious is the access it grants to what may be up to 300 million submerged trees, their lumber still perfectly viable and, for the most part inaccessible. Secondly, the Sawfish can be moved to a location and deployed relatively quickly meaning the infrastructure most logging operations need (new roads and pest control for example) doesn't have to be put in place on Sawfish operations. Finally, the removal of submerged timber from reservoirs and lakes makes them safer places for people to spend time on.

Unfortunately, for now at least, the Sawfish hasn't fully taken off. The nature of logging means the industry frequently finds itself in areas where work forces are prepared to do any job for any pay and this, combined with the fluctuating economic situation has meant most companies have opted to stay with dry land logging for now.

But don't count the Sawfish out just yet. It's a fascinating, innovative piece of technology that manages to please both sides of one of the largest ideological divides, and its day will come. After all, would you argue with an angry shed with a chainsaw?

This article contributed by Alasdair Stuart, of Hub magazine . For more information visit the official site , plus Environment Graffiti and io9 .

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