Based on previously published photos and videos of the Titan submersible, it appears to be controlled by a…gamepad.
In recent days, public attention has been focused on the fate of Titan, a private submersible carrying 5 passengers that suddenly disappeared after only about 1 hour 45 minutes while on a tourist expedition to the next. The wreck of the Titanic on June 18. As rescuers race to find the missing submarine, questions have arisen about the safety of building Titan submersibles. Accordingly, the vehicle is designed to be opened only from the outside of the vessel.
Specifically, before the submersible began to dive, a support team locked the crew inside by closing the hatch from the outside and sealing it with 17 latches. These design flaws led to a lawsuit filed in 2018 over the safety of the hull. Notably, based on previously published photos and videos of the Titan ship, it seems to be controlled by a… gamepad. Accordingly, this controller model is used on PC, designed by Logitech with the codename Logitech GF710, as discovered by many netizens.
Launched in 2010, this model uses the same design as Sony’s PlayStation controller models, with a selling price of about 30 USD (ie more than 700 thousand VND). With over 4,000 customer reviews on Amazon, the Logitech GF710 has a rating of 4.2 stars out of 5. Customers especially appreciate the ergonomics of the handle.
Another website, LevelSkip, raised common user complaints, including the use of AA batteries (instead of lithium ion batteries), poor quality of the D-pad navigation key assembly, and occasional there is a problem with the wireless connection. It is known that the version used on Titan seems to have been modified to help control this ship.
While using a gamepad to control a submarine may seem like a myth, in reality, this device (or devices with a controller-inspired design) often used by militaries around the world to control drones, tanks and other vehicles. The US Navy already uses gamepads to operate submarine components, including the periscope, according to Vice.
As for the Titan, it is one of the only privately owned manned submersibles in the world capable of reaching depths of 4000 meters below sea level. While OceanGate has also operated a sister submersible called Cyclops since 2015, the Titan was explicitly built by the company to allow tourists to visit the wreck of the Titanic. According to the company, the Titan weighs about 10,432 kg and has an aerospace-standard 13 cm thick carbon fiber hull reinforced with two domed titanium end caps. It is capable of reaching depths of up to 4,000m (13,123ft) below sea level, far surpassing the deepest US submersible – the USS Dolphin – which has ever reached 900m below sea level.
Instead, a special text messaging system allows the crew to receive instructions from the group on the surface ship above. On the plane, the pilot controls these instructions using a modified video game controller. Mr. Rush, speaking to CBS News last year, said sub-controlling “doesn’t require a lot of skill”.
The space inside the submarine is extremely narrow, measuring only 670 cm x 280 cm x 250 cm and can carry a crew of only 5 people – a driver and 4 passengers. Although larger than competitors, passengers have to sit on the floor with limited space to move. At the front of the ship is a large dome window that provides a viewing point, which OceanGate claims is “the largest viewing frame of any deep-sea manned submersible”.
Interestingly enough, the Titan includes a separate toilet for customers in the front side. A small curtain is drawn horizontally when it is in use and the pilot plays some of the music available on the plane.
The ship was equipped with a powerful exterior lighting system that was used to illuminate the wreck of the Titanic. Some 4k cameras are also externally mounted and an external laser scanner and sonar are used for navigation mapping. Inside, the crew can view the wreck of the Titanic on a large digital display, while also reviewing the data collected on several tablets. The Titan has about 96 hours of oxygen reserve on board, but this will be affected by the crew’s breathing rate.
Due to extreme pressure at a depth of nearly 4000m (where the Titanic wreck lies), Titan has a real-time hull monitoring system. It has sensors to analyze the effects of pressure changes on the submarine as it dives, in order to assess the structural integrity.