Seatrec’s Deep Dive — Autumn 2021

5 min readNov 11, 2021

We’ve been busy since our last Deep Dive. Highlights include an appearance on CNN, the launch of Project FIND (Float Innovation & New Discovery), a partnership with marine geologist Larry Mayer to cost-effectively map the seafloor, and much more!

📺 CNN!

Lights! Camera! Action! Kristie Lu Stout CNN, the host of “Inventing Tomorrow”, interviewed Seatrec for the episode “Electric Robots Are Mapping the Seafloor — Earth’s Final Frontier.” The show spotlights pioneering businesses serving up ideas for a more sustainable future, and also featured bluetech startup, Bedrock Ocean Exploration. We are proud to be one of the explorers determined to measure the ocean floor, and since only 20% of the ocean bed has been mapped, we’ve got our work cut out for us. But we’re up to the challenge and we have some great partners. Read on!

🗺️ Mapping the Seafloor with Autonomous Echosounder Floats Powered by the Thermocline

80% of the seafloor has not been mapped at high resolution, and to complete this project with current technologies would be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming. Seatrec has partnered with incredible innovators to accelerate the process with a cost-effective alternative.

We will provide a float and power system, Airmar Technology Corporation, in collaboration with Innomar Technologie GmbH, will provide the active acoustic echosounder for high-resolution mapping, and world-renowned marine geologist Larry Mayer, Professor and Director of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire, will lead the project. Funding is from Schmidt Marine Technology Partners. We’ve been obsessed with mapping the ocean for a while, and our CEO, Yi Chao recently wrote this Forbes article.

🔍 Project FIND (Float Innovation & New Discovery)

In September, we launched Project FIND, our mission to broaden everyone’s knowledge of our planet and climate by promoting equity in ocean research. We are sponsoring five underrepresented oceanographers from multiple continents with state-of-the-art technologies. Each of these five teams will receive a Navis scientific float equipped with twin Seatrec SL1 energy harvesting modules (valued at $75,000). Project FIND is also sponsored by visionary data science and AI cloud platform provider, who will provide each team with free support and access to’s award-winning Driverless AI platform that delivers expert data science easier and faster and cheaper than traditional applications. Here’s to our finalists!

Olga Sato and Paulo Polito (Brazil); Joseph K. Ansong (Ghana); Miguel Tenreiro (Mexico); Tammy Morris and Juliet Hermes (South Africa) and Asha de Vos (Sri Lanka)

📛 Conferences are Back!

Conferences, we missed you! Oceans 2021 in San Diego and Ocean Business 2021 in Southampton were a breath of fresh ocean air.

Yi Chao at Oceans 2021 in San Diego (left) and David Vallee, Yi Chao and Robin Willis at Ocean Business 2021 Southampton (right)

📰 ON&T Feature

Call us old-fashioned, but there is something wonderful about seeing your company’s story in print, especially in ON&T Magazine (ON&T just celebrated its 40th year in publication).

ON&T Magazine Feature, September, 2021, Page 36

🎙 Podcasts!

Yi appeared on multiple podcasts, including The EarthSci Show with Aryan Shah, Tacos and Tech — Diving Into Bluetech, and Climate Change with Scott Amyx. Tune in to all three!

🏆 Seatrec Selected as Finalist in General Excellence by FastCo’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards

🧗‍♂️ Welcome Miles, the Mechatronics Guy!

Miles Mallinger Scaling New Heights

Meet Miles Mallinger, our new Seatrecker! Miles previously worked on naval vessels, a superyacht, an electrically-powered bicycle trailer, and a sustainable oyster farm. He holds an M.S. in Mechatronic Engineering from the Hamburg University of Technology and a B.S. in Naval Architecture/ Marine Engineering from Virginia Tech. His goal is to better understand and positively impact the world’s oceans through marine robotic applications and his dream job is developing marine research equipment. (We’re sure he’s right where he belongs.)

📘 A Founder’s Odyssey

With a $500 loan and a one-way ticket to JFK, Yi made his way from China to Princeton, and then NASA and now the deep ocean. San Diego Business Journal interviewed Yi about this journey.

Thomas Valdez, co-inventor of Seatrec’s core technology, with Yi Chao testing a prototype.

🌊 Catching the Bluetech and ClimateTech Wave!

We certainly have seen plenty of news coverage on the space race, so it’s been very encouraging to see increasing media attention on our oceans. Bluetech startups are raising large financing rounds, with Saildrone and Sofar Ocean raising $100 million and $39 million, respectively. Blackrock CEO Larry Fink predicts the next 1,000 unicorns will be in climatetech. With plastic pollution, illegal fishing, catastrophic oil spills, the threat of seabed mining, and most of our PlanetOcean still a mystery, we’ll need all the help we can get. Here’s to the entrepreneurs, explorers and global oceanographers making a difference. The tides are changing, and not a moment too soon.

Yours from a fathom away,





Infinite energy from the ocean. Makers of thermal energy harvesting systems that generate electricity from the thermocline to power floats and gliders.