OpenROV is an open-source electronics kit that aims to offer an affordable robot suitable for sea and ocean exploration and educational purposes.
Just as the ArduSat project allows members of the general public to have a go at controlling a satellite, our most recent spotting is exploring a similar concept. OpenROV is an open-source electronics kit that aims to offer an affordable robot suitable for sea and ocean exploration as well as for educational purposes. Based in San Francisco, Eric Stackpole gathered together a team to develop a robot that they could easily build to explore a nearby cave. Throughout the building process, the idea eventually grew into the OpenROV kit, which users can either build themselves or have pre-made. Currently awaiting funding from a successful Kickstarter campaign, the team has produced a prototype of the robot, which is 30cm x 20cm x 15cm and features a HD webcam, three motors for propulsion and depth capabilities of up to 100 metres. The device is powered using eight standard C batteries and is controlled through a laptop with a wireless connection — using the keyboard — although the team has plans to introduce a games console-style USB controller. The developers have specifically used off-the-shelf components and open source software in order to build a community around the device, believing that it could be used in multiple capacities – from pollution monitoring in streams to species identification in remote locations. The OpenROV kit can be pre-ordered through Kickstarter until August 1 – a pledge of USD 775 will gain backers the full kit, unassembled, while a pre-built robot costs USD 1,200. According to the team, the device takes around two days to assemble. From open source space exploration to underwater research — which other remote locations can developers delve into next?