From Boing Boing:

"In the New York Times today, Brian Lam (formerly of Gizmodo, now the creator of Scuttlefish and Wirecutter) writes about OpenROV, a low-cost submarine designed to be an affordable tool for "curious students and amateurs, as well as provide a highly valuable shallow water tool for explorers and scientists."

This month, NASA engineer Eric Stackpole hiked to a spot in Trinity County, east of California’s rough Bigfoot country. Nestled at the base of a hill of loose rock, peppered by red and purple wildflowers, is Hall City Cave. For part of the winter the cave is infested with large spiders, but is mostly flooded year-round. Locals whisper the cave’s deep pools hold a cache of stolen gold, but Mr. Stackpole isn’t here to look for treasure.

He had, under his arm, what might appear to be a clunky toy blue submarine about the size of a lunchbox. The machine is the latest prototype of the OpenROV–an open-source, remotely operated vehicle that could map the cave in 3D using software from Autodesk and collect water in places too tight for a diver to go. It could change the future of ocean exploration. For now, it is exploring caves because it can only go down 100 meters. But it holds promise because it is cheap, links to a laptop, and is available to a large number of researchers for experimentation. Indeed, the OpenROV team hopes to start taking orders for OpenROV kits on the crowd sourced project site, Kickstarter. Going for $750, the kits include laser cut plastic parts and all the electronics necessary to build an OpenROV. (Users will have to bring their own laptops to view the onboard video feed and control the machine. They’ll also have to supply their own C-cell batteries which power the sub.) The subs are expected to be available by the end of summer.

Read the full story here, and check out the awesome video Brian shot, here."

Views: 1527

Comment by Dave Wicks on May 29, 2012 at 7:20pm
That's pretty cool! Can't wait till they offer up the kits so we can build our own, maybe even build an ArduSub one day ;)

Comment by Andreas M. Antonopoulos on May 29, 2012 at 7:24pm

I have a lake nearby. I'm totally onboard for ArduSub and will help port it. I've signed up for their kit

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on May 29, 2012 at 8:09pm

We had the OpenROV team down to 3D Robotics in San Diego to discuss possible collaboration. Craig Elder, our head of software engineering, is a ROV expert (he came to us from Seabotix), so subs are definitely in our future. Right now the OpenROV team want to try making the first few themselves, but if this takes off we'll see if it makes sense for us to make them at 3DR. 

Comment by Andreas M. Antonopoulos on May 29, 2012 at 8:19pm

Chris, I met Craig for about 20 min at Maker Faire and before long was fascinated watching video from his adventures in the deep sea hydrothermal vents. Pretty amazing guy to have as part of the team. 

Comment by John Arne Birkeland on May 30, 2012 at 12:00am

From the video, "I always fail my way to success."

Great quote, that describes DIY in a nutshell.

Comment by Jan Detlefsen on May 30, 2012 at 2:31am

very interesting, will have some nice challenges, i.e. no GPS reception underwater, no radio connection (?).

They seem to suggest to use the Beagle Bone where you can connect a webcam easily to and control via ethernet. So it's much more capable on the software side. You can probably build an OSD via web technologies. Also capable for running OpenCV, OpenROS, and so on. I love that concept.

Comment by Bradley J Carr on May 30, 2012 at 6:55am

Would it be possible to to start a group for the people that would like to build there own. Surely getting the APM1 set to do what you need couldn't be to tough.  But I am not a programmer so we would dev team to help out.

Comment by Bradley J Carr on May 30, 2012 at 6:56am

I have motors and everything else lying around and could be fun to use my APM1 for more stuff.

Comment by Bradley J Carr on May 30, 2012 at 7:02am

Couldn't you use the APM board and connect to the usb and basically manuver with a joystick since you would have to have cables coming from the sub.  Then you could have your video and everything.  I don't plan on going to deep maybe 30 ft.  Just for fun. 

Comment by Jan Detlefsen on May 30, 2012 at 7:21am

@Bradley J Carr

The linked website has a forum where you can team up with ppl.

Think about what use a APM would have in such a vehicle. Almost zero. Stabilization? You don't need it. There is just up and down, left, right, forward, reverse. So what's left is navigation. You don't have GPS, so how do you navigate? Control via USB? Afaik there is no serial USB on the APM also USB is just good for <10 meter. Doesn't get you far, also you want a live camera connection, else what is the fun about this?

The way they designed this with a Beagle Bone on board and ethernet as remote cable pretty much solves those problems.


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