"It could change the future of ocean exploration." - New York Times
“I wish they were in every hardware store in the world.” - Dr. Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer-in-residence.
"The maker movement at its best" - Tim O'Reilly, Founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, Inc.
OpenROV is an open source robotic submarine designed to make underwater exploration possible for everyone. It's also an online community of professional and amateur ROV (remotely operated vehicle) enthusiasts on OpenROV.com.
The Goal: to inspire and enable anyone to become a DIY Ocean Explorer.
We believe in the power of open source communities to create amazing tools and experiences. This is an invitation to become a co-developer of the OpenROV project.
Important Note: The OpenROV Kit is a perfect introduction into the world of underwater exploration, but at this point it is very much a product for makers/developers. It's a blast to play with, but you should be ready to tinker with it. The kit involves soldering, gluing, and wiring of electronics.
The ROV is the brainchild of Eric Stackpole (@eerrp) who wanted an easy way to explore a cave that was rumored to contain sunken treasure near his home.
Pretty soon, a small team of interested onlookers began contributing to the design. The community grew to include beginner, amateur and professional engineers and scientists from over 50 countries. As the community grew, so did the proposed uses of the ROV - from pollution monitoring in streams to species identification in Antarctica. The uses are only limited by your imagination
The OpenROV is 30cm long, 20cm wide, and 15cm tall. It weights approximately 2.5kg and has been designed to go to depths of up to 100m
A single (10cm outer-diameter by 18cm long) waterproof tube houses all electronics and other equipment that must be kept dry. Equipment in the tube is mounted onto a rotating platform that can be tilted up and down with a servo.
Three 800kv brushless motors power the ROV. Two horizontal thrusters allow the ROV to move forward and aft as well as rotate, and a vertical thruster allows the (neutrally buoyant) vehicle to change depth.
OpenROV has been tested in ocean water to depths of 20m. 8 on-board C batteries supply about 1-1.5 hours of run time.
How deep can it go?
Structurally, OpenROV has been designed to go to 100m depth. However, we've only tested it to depths of about 20m so far.
Does it work in salt water?
Yes, but the salt water accelerates the corrosion of the brushless motors. Our current strategy has been to spray them with silicon mold release before use and to give them a fresh-water rinse after every salt water dive. This seems to work pretty well, but more testing is needed. If the motors do need to be replaced, they are low cost and off the shelf. The community is working hard to develop ways to make the motors run longer and stronger.
Do you have interns from the University of North Alaska?
No, not yet.
How fast does the ROV travel/ what kind of current can it fly in?
With the current propellers we are using (which still have plenty of room to be optimized), the ROV moves at about 1m/s. We're looking for propellers that will be more efficient, and we are even investigating the possibility of making our own, so if you happen to be an aerospace engineer, we could use your help!
How is the ROV powered?
We use 8 on-board C batteries (which are mounted in the two white tubes at the bottom of the ROV). These allow the ROV to fly around for about an hour. Higher capacity batteries could be used to make the ROV last longer, but we wanted to use something available everywhere. There are also ways to send power for the ROV down the tether, but that's still in the community development phase.
How is the ROV controlled?
Flying the ROV is a lot like playing a video game. The interface is hosted as a webserver from the ROV that allows you to control its movements with your computer's keyboard and see it's video feed on your screen. We're also developing an interface that will use a USB game controller. Eventually, we plan to make the ROV controllable via the internet, and our hope is that developers who get the kit through this Kickstarter project will have ideas for how to help.
What comes after Kickstarter?
We want this to be a sustainable adventure. Our plan is to get user feedback from people who build and operate OpenROV's to make the design even better and more fitted toward the community's needs. We plan to continue selling OpenROV Kits (and assembled OpenROVs) on our website as well as payloads and accessories for specific uses. We also hope that by building a strong community of people who understand the hardware and its applications, we'll be able to develop ways of doing better science and exploration in more remote and interesting places.
What's included in the kit?
Also, an important note on shipping: the reward tiers include shipping within the continental US. International shipping will cost extra. If you live outside the continental US, just let what your mailing address is and we’ll email you the amount to add to your pledge level to cover shipping.
- (32 days)