Toward the end of 2010 I got interested in building homemade ROVS, or Remotely Operated Vehicles. This page lists the ROVs I either am building, have built or hope to build.
Mercury is my first ROV, which is currently under construction. It's very simple in terms of construction and capacities, and is basically just me, if you'll excuse the pun, testing the waters of homemade ROVs. Mercury is powered by unmodified bilge pumps, which are controlled in an on/off fashion by relays, which are in turn controlled directly by pushing buttons on a hand-held control unit. It has one camera and one light, and no claws or other tools. It’s pretty much as simple as a hobbyist ROV can get.
Gemini will be my second ROV, which will benefit from whatever lessons I learn from building and piloting Mercury, and also be considerably more advanced in design. Here's what I currently have in mind for Gemini:
- Propeller thrusters, rather than unmodified bilge pumps
- An onboard Arduino microprocessor which will control the thrusters
- Ethernet communication between the Arduino and a surface laptop, so the ROV can be controlled directly from the computer without the need for a control box (though I could of course plug a joystick into the computer, or possibly even use WiiMotes)
Apollo will be my third ROV, if I still have the motivation for this hobby after building Gemini. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself so I don’t have any definite plans for Apollo yet, but here are some things I’ll definitely consider:
- Hybrid ROV (HROV) capabilities, so that Apollo can function as either a ROV or an AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) which runs untethered using onboard batteries for power and an onboard computer for control.