I’m a very happy owner of OpenROV 2.8. It has opened up a whole new field of exploration. The support is second to none, the feeling of inclusiveness is fantastic.
That is why I’m going to ask this question, albeit a bit rude, maybe. Have you forgotten your roots?
One of the criteria for OpenROV was “under a thousand dollars”. There were moving videos from Eric and David about pushing boundaries, dreams of far off places, etc. I would be surprised if the build of the trident, in terms of materials, cost any more than OpenROV, yet it will cost me $1,600 to get the device with 100m of tether.
I apologise for my cynicism, but it seems that OpenROV has just gone commercial.
Thanks for the kind words about the 2.8 kit. And thanks for the honest question.
This is a tough one. First off, the OpenROV 2.8 will still be available and less than $1k
To be perfectly honest, I think we may have forgotten our roots a little bit over the past year. After we figured out that the new style of design would be so effective, we went into a dead sprint trying to get it ready and out into the world. We had been working so hard to get it ready that we stopped going on as many expeditions, visiting as many schools, going to as many Maker Faires, etc. It wasn’t that we thought we were beyond that - not at all - we just got extremely focused. As the Kickstarter craziness has settled down, we’re getting our priorities straight. We’re still working really hard on manufacturing, but we also want to go the extra mile to make sure that the process is just as rewarding as the product.
Launching the Trident on Kickstarter was a big part of staying true to our roots. That’s where we started. We had a long meeting before we launched the new project about how to make sure that our existing community members would know how much we wanted them to come on this next chapter of the OpenROV journey. One idea was to offer an extensive early bird discount on the Trident, and to give the community a special heads up on the deal. Almost all the early birds were snapped up by community members. The cost of the Trident is a little higher, but we think it’s fair for the value.
We have a lot of other ideas to make sure that the community stays front and center, and that we can continue to eliminate the barriers to exploration and science. Over the next year, we’re going to get very creative. I want to ask three things from you:
- Please give us a chance to prove that the Trident is our best attempt to truly democratize ocean exploration. This will take a bit of time, but please allow us to prove it.
- Have ideas for ways to make the tech more accessible? Let us know! Sharing programs, leases, whatever! We’re open to ideas.
- Hold us accountable. Please keep asking the “are we forgetting our roots?” question. We don’t want to get away from that. That’s why we’re working so hard, because we feel an immense privilege that so many other people have trusted us and shared in this idea.
We’re more committed than ever to the mission: democratize exploration. Thanks for keeping us honest.
Just to chime in on this conversation as well. I work on many aspects here at OpenROV but one of my rolls is on the production team. We are still working hard to make the 2 series even better. We have R&D projects that we are doing to improve the vehicle as well as responding to user input for accessories they would like to see. After many requests for external lights we have a product that we have developed and will be in the store in the next couple weeks (here is a sneak peak of them). We are also looking at other upgrades and accessories. As with all the other 2 series ROVs these designs will be open source to encourage a community of individuals who want to customize them to support their own personal exploration needs.
David, thank you for your very comprehensive reply. As I said, I was somewhat apprehensive about even asking the question. I believe your philosophy is as important as your technology and I am still in awe of you guys. Some sour grapes on my part as I really wanted to sign up for Trident but, having just bought the OpenROV, the funds weren’t there. I will almost certainly get one when they are released as I believe it will be a vital next step.
The community is the thing that really makes this project stand out. However, I do believe that sometimes the nitty gritty of the technology is a little offputting for some people, especially the deep conversations about command line additions to the software. I just replied to a posting by Craig1, who seemed to think that the technology was beyond him.
The most fantastic thing is that whatever the level, there is someone to help, whether it be choice of adhesives or the finer points of the Arduino.
Having put my ideas down in black and white I now realise that the Trident is, as you say the best way to democratise exploration. I’m sure there are many people, like myself, that would much rather spend time diving the ROV than hours trying to upgrade the firmware.
Thanks for all your help and thanks for your ongoing enthusiasm. We’re watching your every move
Thanks Brian (and all the engineers). Your help is truly appreciated. There’s nothing worse than the feeling of isolation that new technology sometimes brings, but this doesn’t happen in the OpenROV community. Well done.
Honestly, im still impressed how David and Eric keeping this project alive!
Monthly paychecks, real estate costs, taxes, energy, comercial free webhosting, research and development costs over years… All payed with roughly 2000 sold ROV Kits for less than 1k$??
If they decide to offer a new type ROV even with higher profit margin, ok just do it. It will keep the original open source project alive.
Stefan, don’t forget the $100,000 first Kickstarter and the amazingly successful $800,000 that’s just happened. It’s a testament to the success of the whole project and the enthusiasm of the founders. It also proves that their original hunch was right, that people are very keen to do their own exploration, rather than just read about it in Nat Geo.