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?