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A Treasure Hunt Leads to a Smart Idea

OpenROV, a California startup creates an underwater robot that can explore and map the ocean depths
A California startup that specializes in the design and manufacture of underwater drones has entered in its final phase to develop a robot that can work underwater in great depths. This technology can help create ocean awareness among the humans.

The basic idea behind the creation of underwater robot come to David Lang, co-founder of OpenROV, a California startup that specializes in the design and manufacture of underwater drones from a magazine story of a treasure hunt. Eric Stackpole, original designer of OpenRov, pointed out an article to David Lang that hinted at the location of a pile of gold that has been missing for more than 100 years.

The magazine published a story that there was a robbery and gold was thrown to the bottom of this underwater cave. As the treasure was in great ocean depth, all these treasure hunters and scuba divers were unable to reach to that bottom.

Lang mentioned that over the past four years the OpenRov has developed several prototypes for exploring the ocean and is now putting the finishing touches on their latest design.

The company is in the final days of a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter that has raised more than $740,000 to date.

Trident is basically a waterproof smart phone with thrusters that can operate 100 meters (328 ft.) underwater.

The robot sends a video signal, as well as temperature, depth, and directional information to the surface in real time via a tether connected to a wireless buoy. That buoy is connected to the internet, allowing the robot to be controlled from afar.

The team has developed software to enhance the experience of exploring underwater which allows users to immerse themselves into an underwater environment using a virtual reality headset. The robot is getting popularity among the science community as a low cost underwater research tool.

Lang believes that their robot can give researchers insights on to how to better protect the oceans. Any researcher can’t research properly until he has full grasp of the importance and fragility of underwater ecosystem.

Globally, the ocean science and exploration is underfunded. The researchers are stuck in this post-docalypse, trying to get the research done with very limited budgets in underwater ecosystems. Lang believes that Trident will cost just a fraction of the price of conventional ROVs with much of the same functionality, so it will be helpful for research.

The OpenRov hasn’t had luck tracking down their underwater gold yet but Lang believes that their mission to open up the oceans to a curious public is worth more than any treasure anyone can imagine.


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