There are tugboats, barges, skimmer boats, and many miles of brightly colored booms being deployed in the desperate effort to curtail the spread of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. But perhaps the most sophisticated tools are doing their work far out of sight, 5,000 feet beneath the water's surface. These 10 unmanned devices are called remotely operated vehicles - ROVs. Some are nearly as big as minivans, and they are the high-tech workhorses of the deep sea.
The boxy underwater contraptions typically have two hydraulic "arms" that are controlled by human operators far above, on the deck of a ship - sort of the long-distance equivalent of a surgeon's manipulating laparoscopic instruments from outside the patient.
Read the complete article in The Philadelphia Inquirer here.