To many, underwater exploration is the stuff of Jules Verne-inspired science fiction or a favorite pastime of millionaire geeks like James Cameron. But, engineers in San Francisco are hoping to change that with the OpenROV project — an open-source underwater robot for exploration and education.
The OpenROV is a shoe-box sized robotic submarine made from off-the-shelf parts. The team behind the mini ocean explorer has gone to Kickstarter to mass produce a low-cost, remote-operated undersea explorer and to encourage others to further advance the technology. The project is completely open source.
“We’re a community of DIY Ocean Explorers committed to developing open source technology to empower more people to explore and study underwater environments,” the team wrote on its Kickstarter page.
The team launched the OpenROV Kickstarter on June 29. With 28 days to go, the project has raised $44K of its initial $22k goal. One of its creators Eric Stackpole took to Twitter to say: “We launched the OpenROV Kickstarter this morning. http://tinyurl.com/6lwk2hs Launched after breakfast and goal reached before lunch. Not bad!”
The team wants to distribute an explorer that anyone can build and use for scientific research. The device sends real-time video from a camera back to operators on the surface via the web — no software installation required. In testing, the vehicle works in ocean water to depths of 20 meters, but it is designed to go as deep as 100 meters.
Interested DIY ocean explorers can secure a OpenROV kit with a pledge of $725+ dollars. Do you think this open-source submarine can change sea exploration? Share your thoughts with us below.