ROV-4-DC: Need Help, IMPORTANT (well, not THAT important)


Hi guys (and girls/ladies/women),

Its Eli here, and I (quite desperately) need your help. I'm a middle School student (8th grade) at George Washington MS in Alexandria VA. When my science teacher, Mrs. Mary Breslin (who won the National Presidential Science Award), made a small offhand comment on how great it would be to have a couple videos of the Potomac using the GoPro (bought using class grant money) underwater for our class documentary on Alexandria (VA)'s watershed, I immediately began thinking of different ways to achieve this. My plan evolved from attaching the GoPro to a pole and sticking it underwater to building a homemade “TrollPro” with vertical and horizontal stabilization fins attached to a 22’ downrigger on a boat. I plan to make this project long- term by making a small fleet of ROVs and taking test samples of Nitrate and Phosphorus as well as counting the amount of dead zones in the Potomac/Chesapeake Bay. With the money I receive, I plan to make or buy a small fleet of ROVs and GoPros to collect video and take samples of the Potomac and the surrounding Chesapeake Bay, then educate students and teachers about the decreasing health of our Virginia watershed, as well as what they can do to help. This may turn out to be a monumental effort to save Virginia's watershed, but it won't grow without your help, and a couple of your ROVs. I have heard about your guys skill, so I decided to take a look. Now, I'm completely hooked and am sure that buying your ROVs will be the best way to go. Right now, all I need is about $1,600 max (gained through Kickstarter?), $600 being for a GoPro, the rest for your ROV as well as shipping. I was wondering (for the good of education and science) if y'all would mind donating one to me (an old, beaten up, used prototype) or giving me a coupon. Here's something else you should check out:!prettyPhoto

this is from an awesome store/website called, and they supply high-altitude weather balloons. Since both of you are testing the limits of technology (you're testing depth, their testing height) I'm imaging you two would be a good pair! If this is waterproof, you should sell it in your store as an extra for more researchive expeditions. Just saying.

that's all for now,

Eli Hanisian

Manager of ROV-4-DC


Please, anybody, help me out here! Any small donation will make a HUGE difference. This is very important to me, my grades, and possibly my future. If anybody needs to contact me about anything regarding the above post, email me at


A few comments in my opinion (Note: I am not affiliated with the business team at OpenROV):

$600 for a single GoPro? You should research that again. Even with a mount you're looking at a maximum of approximately $450. You wouldn't even need to spend near that much for a good camera and mount. Think about what you need to do first. You talk about water sampling and monitoring, that requires a rig and facilities to process. Though not incredibly difficult, that as well takes time and money. I do not speak for OpenROV, but though your idea is interesting and ambitious, there are a number of considerations you haven't mentioned that need to be thoughtfully considered prior to implementation.

What I am getting at is you should start off small and manageable and build from there. Proof of concepts and processes first, then dive in when you've provided proof for potential backers of the gains earned by investing in your idea.

My suggestion, for what it's worth, is to do just as you say, build the TrollPro first. I would suggest the cheaper of the GoPros for this. However, your videos of the Chesapeake aren't going to mean much without positional data, water sampling, and other data logging capabilities. Consider that. It would be a good start to build cheaper ROVs with cheaper cameras if you want your fleet, then expand when you've proved that the costs are justified, then endeavor to solicit materials from suppliers like OpenROV and the such. Try smaller systems like the SeaPerch to prove you idea, then build bigger. From your second post, it sounds like this was not an "off hand comment" from your instructor, but a class assignment? If that's the case, then you above plan is far to complex for a single semester of work. There's a bit of a shallow learning curve and it can not be steepened by COTS equipment donations. And it shouldn't be when you are a student.

Define "any small donation". A piece of the kit isn't going to help you in any way. Are you asking for money? There's just no information here to justify support for your project. But, again, I do not speak for OpenROV and they may donate you a ROV for the sake of science and education...I think they'd be doing a disservice to education in donating just one ROV to one student, but that's just my opinion.

I wish you the best of luck on your endeavor. Again, I think you should build a smaller SeaPerch like ROV with a camera from Cabela's. They have underwater fish monitoring cameras for less then a low level GoPro. Save your school money, it needs it. Also, check out for to build your own ROV, and really learn the science of marine exploration, or try,, and of course, read the forums on this site!

I have no idea how a high altitude balloon would have any benefit to undersea exploration, unless you are talking about the data logger? That could be modified for wet work, and a good idea, maybe you should research that for OpenROV?

One final comment, you should not try soliciting donations and money by starting posts with "Help me" and "Important" and exclamation points, people tend to ignore posts of this nature. be clear with your ideas, your plan, and your comments. And trust me, whether you are "given" a ROV or not, your future will not be greatly impacted in a negative way. If anything, if you aren't "given" a ROV, you would learn much more and be a much better person for it. (melodrama doesn't help causes either :) )

Keep us posted on your plans and how you go about solving your assignment. We can help you, but you need to ask the correct questions in the correct way. Best of luck and work hard!


Thanks so much Jim! Here are my comments on your comment(s):

  • As far as the GoPro, I meant that I would be getting a battery BacPac, a tripod mount, a side mount, extra adhesive mounts, an extra battery, a floaty backdoor, a dive housing, and of course a GoPro Hero3 Black Edition.
  • I now realize just how melodramatic I was. I will change that.
  • As far as starting out small, I will try. I happen to make things WAY too complicated, as well as over think. Due to this, I usually tend to run out of money and research.
  • Also, take note that I am not a professional grant writer, but I do know a couple. Thanks to your and their comments, I will have a much better... grant paper.

Thanks again,

Eli H.


I can give some perspective from the student side. I have done many of the things you seek to do personally, but during my high school years (competitive robotics team, and personal projects).

  • Donations are VERY hard to come by. You're going to need a lot more than what you have in a presentation for donations. I had a multipage packet, of which it included our organizations 501c3 form, and multipages on how theyre support is beneficial to the donating group. What you are asking for is expensive stuff, and most places won't donate without some documentation, and proof of a return on investment.
  • what you want to achieve is possible with an MIT SeaPerch or similar scaled robot, at a much lesser cost. investigate other options, and learn something.
  • you write yourself as "Manager of ROV-4-DC." You are an 8th grade student, and I'm willing to make the jump that this is a fictional company. Don't use this, it sounds pretentious, and if you're going to try to get donations, its better to represent yourself as a student


But don't be discouraged! Keep working at it. It will happen if you want it too. We are all learning as we go, no matter what age :)