You might think that underwater exploration is only for submarines and James Cameron, but OpenROV says otherwise. The company–which is building pint-sized open-source underwater drones that you can control from your computer–wants to democratize exploration, and let anyone curious have a way to send a robot into the murky depths.
“Right now, only a select handful of people are able to explore the ocean,” says David Lang, an OpenROV cofounder. “What we want to do is give everyone that access and share what they’re finding, creating a sort-of Wikipedia for ocean exploration.” The bots themselves are made from parts you can buy at any electronics store, OpenROV sends you a kit with most of the parts to build it and all it takes is a little assembly and then you can send it down to as deep as 100 meters, all while beaming video back to your computer.
Because the project is open-source, people are constantly adapting and iterating on the robot, creating modifications that they post on the company’s forums for anyone to use on their own projects. “Call it a toy or call it a serious research tool,” says one of the cofounders, “OpenROV is capable and it’s fun to build.”