Hey, I did some browsing around, but I have yet to see anyone attempt an OpenRov build like the Video Plankton Recorder II. Am I just using the wrong keywords, or has this really never been done? It seems like a real shame, given how minute the majority of sea life is =/
To my knowledge, no one has attempted to build a payload for OpenROV that does this, but I am completely on board- THIS WOULD BE A GREAT PAYLOAD! There has been discussion about being able to send data streams from multiple cameras up the tether simultaneously, so it seems plausible that a device like what you describe could be made fairly easily with a USB microscope or similar optics based around a USB camera.
I seem to recall seeing images of the VPRII on a poster in the science building in Antarctica. It certainly seems like it would be useful for learning about what biology lurks in the water below the Antarctic ice sheet, and there would definitely be a lot of scientific utility to make something like this that could be deployed on hundreds of low-cost ROVs around the world.
Perhaps we can have further discussions about this sort of thing under the "Payloads" section of the forums.
Thanks for pointing this out!