The underwater Quadradiver Robot
The Goal: Is to enable anyone to explore, find and retrieve objects of up to 500 lbs dry weight from up to 300 feet below the surface.
Starfish is an underwater tethered robot that can search, grapple and retrieve objects from a lake, river and ocean floor.It can be used to explore the underwater realm, retrieve items lost overboard from your boat or anchor a boat to an underwater mooring. It could be used to inspect the inside of enclosed underwater environments.
As shown in the picture of the model below, Starfish is small and light enough to hold in your hand and carry onboard a small vessel or the trunk of your car.
Powered from a standard 12VDC power supply, Starfish is controlled from a computer tablet using a USB or Bluetooth connection for communication.Starfish has positive buoyancy and therefore can be deployed on the surface of the water while the system is made ready for use.
The four thrusters operate in the same manner as those found on Starfish’s airborne cousins the quadracopter allowing the unit to maneuver and hover underwater.The onboard camera feeds video to your tablet screen and using simple tilt controls of the tablet will maneuver Starfish as desired.
Unlike airborne quadracopters the starfish umbilical allows unlimited search time down to 300 ft below the surface, something amateur scuba cannot yet achieve.
Retrieval of Starfish is easy since turning off the thrusters allows the positively buoyant Starfish to rise to the surface.After grappling an object the umbilical is wound in by hand or other means to retrieve the sunken treasure.
Since Starfish is easy to deploy, it could be called in to search for a child or adult missing from the water surface.Its video camera and end effecter claw would allow a rescue team to search for and grapple a human pulling them to the surface without having to wait for a dive team to arrive on site.The quick deploy and search with Starfish could in some cases, turn what would have been diver retrieval into a rescue, especially for persons lost under ice covered water where time for rescue can be extended.
Starfish works in both salt and fresh water with a simple rinse with fresh water being required before storage.
Starfish is the brainchild of the designers at SheerTech.A small four person industrial animation and design company based in Sarnia Ontario Canada. We have developed a prototype system already as proof of concept. You can see the first tests as shown in the video below that includes recovery of a cell phone from the lake floor.
Upon successful completion of Kickstarter we look forward to developing a complete family of Starfish underwater robots beginning with this first 18 inch diameter model as shown in this project.We expect to deliver finished ready to go Starfish product by April 15 2016.
Check out third party review of starfish at this YouTube Link from Crowdfunding Review
Risks and challenges
Starfish has unique challenges due to the environment it operates in. Unlike its airborne cousins the quadracopter-drone, Starfish cannot take advantage of radio communications under the water. GPS and other systems used to guide and “fly” drones would be unreliable at depth. For this reason Inertial Navigation and surface communications must help navigate and automate Starfish “flight” in a different manner. Although we know of technology that can answer all these issues integration of the system could present difficulties for this project. We have built the delivery date with those design challenges in mind.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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