Have you ever seen a gannet plunge-dive into the ocean in search of it's next meal?
I am toying with the idea of adding a "food canon" payload to the ROV in the hopes of releasing food at depth to attract the gannets into the camera's field of view. The on-board depth sensor would then allow us to answer rather accurately "how deep do these gannets dive"?
Here is my concept. Lets call it, Food Canon Rev.1.
The Canon consists of a hollow tube, a plunger and an actuator. The tube is of course where the food will be loaded, and the actuator (rubber band in this case) will force the food out of the plunger when the arming pin is pulled. I believe the pin could be pulled using something similar to Hub's fantastic Magnetic Coupled Grabber seen here ( goo.gl/KDyqyP )
I played with other ideas including a screw auger type of mechanism to load/unload the tube via rotating motor, using springs (which I may yet try) and settled on this design as a first go.No 3D printer... no problem; Picture using a syringe to essentially accomplish the same thing. Thinking more about the task at hand I think syringes would be even better than custom parts. (update: Hub has since posted almost exactly what I describe here. His system is used to collect water samples; I would run it in reverse. I love the collaboration opportunities the internet facilitates. http://goo.gl/gLjhX4 )
There is further write up of the concept over on OpenExplorer. Check it out at http://goo.gl/UEeXdJ Wander there to read the details and then come on back to offer some feedback and commentary.