Current project – ROV 18/09/2013

So the last few weeks I’ve been busy with a small project…building a Remotely Operated Vehicle, or ROV.

It’s just a bit of fun really, something I’ve been considering for the last year or so. The aim is to get a live feed, whilst recording pictures and/or video. Because of the limits for depth on the equipment I can afford, it’ll be limited to about 25 metres depth. However, my main “mission” for this ROV will be experimenting with shallow things, such as the pylons that pontoons are attached to, or the legs piers are built upon. I’m interested to see whether I can generate a panorama of an entire pylon from top to bottom, and if successful, take this one step further and create a 3d model using Structure from Motion (SFM). I attempted to make a panorama last year by lowering a camera on a platform, shooting on interval mode. This worked in a limited sense, but not being able to see what the camera saw, or control the direction/angle, meant the end result was pretty poor.

The camera I’ve decided to use is a GoPro Hero 3, Black edition. It has wifi built in. Wifi doesn’t transmit well at all in water. To get around this, I’m boosting the signal by using a repeater encased in resin, placed as close to (IE, touching) the back of the GoPro on the ROV frame. This has an ethernet cable running up to the surface, where a router is attached, to which you can connect a tablet or smartphone, and using an app, view the camera feed, as well as control the camera.

The ROV is controlled using 3 bilge pump motors, powered by a car jump starter.

I’m currently very close to finishing the construction and getting the initial test runs done. See this flickr link for photos of the build: