Thinking like a kid


I just wanted to take a moment to recall one of my favorite ages- 8 years old. The thing I remember most vividly about that time was my interest in drawing inventions on pieces of paper with friends and imagining how cool whatever the thing we had drawn would be. We drew race cars, battle ships, castles, catapults, tree houses,.. the list is endless. The fun of it was that we were imagining things, and there was no sense of impracticality that stopped us from dreaming big.

I still find myself drawing things that may seem impractical just for fun. But the cool thing is that we're now capable of achieving some of the things we dream of most. OpenROV is sort of like that I think. And I think that with increasingly advanced technology becoming available to consumers, the dreams of today will quickly become the realistic ambitions of tomorrow. As an open source group, we can take crazy ideas seriously because collectively, we may have the know-how to do things that have never been done before.

The other day, I found myself doodling in my notebook and, inspired by the (then) upcoming landing of the Mars Science Laboratory, I sketched a lander of sorts that could support multiple ROVs and be deployed down to the ocean floor. I pictured a research vessel with multiple control consuls in its cabin and imagined a sort of LAN party-esk scene as me and a bunch of friends would pilot our ROVs around some unknown underwater land, each sitting at our own station and yelling back and forth to one another "fly over here and check this thing out!" or "help me pick this up!"

When MSL touched down successfully the other night, the value of dreaming big and thinking like a kid was concreted in my mind. As engineers, inventors, tinkerers, and hobbyists, we can do anything. Crazy ideas are always welcome on OpenROV- you never know who may have a way to make it work. So post your sketches... heck, if you have kids, post their sketches too. The possibilities are limitless...

Long Range Wireless Buoy

I am with you Eric, keep dreaming!

Once we get past fleshing out the base platform for OpenROV, I do want to integrate the ROV(s) with my the instrumentation and chart plotter on my sailboat. Since my equipment follows marine standards, this would work with any research vessel. Navigation information available from the boat can be combined with what the ROV knows (depth, speed, heading, etc.).

Additional laptops can be the multiple control consoles. For example, a mission specialist could be working with a payload or manipulators that the OpenROV is reliably transporting and positioning.

Since we are using internet protocols and will want to have convenient message protocols for all sensor data, if the mother ship (my sailboat in this case) provides access to the internet, others in cyberspace will be able to participate in the mission.



My thought is to use a 8ft Livingston style support boat that can be trailered to your exploration site. This little dual hull boat can support a bank of 4 12 volt RV deep cycle batteries, two in each hull as your power source.
A Cannon style electric downrigger could be used to raise and lower your OpenRov into the bottom of the Livingston, sort of like the GSF Explorer, formerly USNS Glomar Explorer (T-AG-193), the Cannon mounted to the Livingston center seat. Here are pictures of this little boat, used I paid $250 for one.
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Very stable platform.
The Livingston can be powered by a set of bow and stern electric trolling motors, with remote steering. The trolling motors and downrigger should be able to be controlled remotely, cameras integrated into what your support platform is doing and what the ROV cage is doing.
Just a thought, allows you to roam a bit further that a 100 meter tether standing on the shore, without the cost and time expense of a typical support boat.
Integrate the software of a Roomba and your system can explore a set area as it ‘mows’ the area. A nice hacked GPS Chartplotter can facilitate underwater mapping/tracking A Garmin Rino or Nautilus Lifeline ( to help you keep track of your investment if it roams out of site.
Of course integrated with a website, I’d let school children drive this setup if they are somewhere it is not.
Thinking like a kid.



Wow- not only would that work well, that actually sounds pretty easily achievable! I've also often thought of a sort of remote control pontoon boat that would be just large enough to hold an ROV above the water between the pontoons and could be controlled from shore. If it had a WiFi router on-board (or something like that), you could drive it out from shore into deep water, then lower the ROV down for a mission and control it without needing to go out on the water. The boat could also follow along with the ROV so you could make transects without reeling out tons of tether. This sounds just like what you describe here- okay... first to build one wins!


I like the thought of controlling everything on an IPad like on this toy|ProductDetails|Accesories|786406p

Hoping the keep track of these guys nearby where I live.


Ha! That Octopus is AMAZING! I want an 8- legged friend! I wonder if a creature like that would make friends with an ROV