Last month, we launched OpenExplorer to a wider audience and asked what you'd explore with an OpenROV. We offered a few OpenROV kits as an incentive to get the first ideas out on the site. To be perfectly honest, we weren't quite sure what to expect. Well, we were completely blown away. There were so many great ideas and inspiring expeditions posted that we felt terrible about not being able to send ROVs out to everyone. Seriously, go check them out: http://openexplorer.com/here
GREAT NEWS! The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has stepped up to provide OpenROV kits to the all the projects with a citizen science component. They're support is an example of a new feature on OpenExplorer that we're calling "Microsponsorship":
The tools for conducting science, exploring remote areas or running conservation programs have traditionally been prohibitively expensive. That's all changing. New maker tools are allowing anyone to participate, protect and ask interesting questions.
Microsponsorship takes that a step further. Partner foundations and companies help citizen scientists and explorers by providing necessary tools to take your projects and expeditions to the next level. It is not direct financial support. Instead, if your project meets certain requirements*, a microsponsorship can allow us to send you the tools you need to make your expedition a success.
I wrote up a longer explanation with our philosophy about "Funding Curiosity" on Medium.
We still have 5 OpenROV kits from the Moore Foundation that can be sent out to anyone around the world working on a citizen science initiative. We're currently talking to other foundations and companies who are also interested in supporting this type of science and exploration, including with tools beyond just OpenROVs. The best way to qualify for one of these microsponsorships is to just get started. Don't worry about having everything figured out at the beginning (no one ever does). Just share your idea and do your best to be inclusive and share the adventure.
So, my question to you is, again: what will you explore? Tell us here!