Remotely Operated Vehicles: Interest Groups and Setup

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Greetings Enthusiasts! I’ve started this wiki page for ROV and AUV (also referred to as UUVs) projects targeted for aquatic domains. There are a few roboticists in our organization that have a great deal of experience in this field and I hope that they will enjoy, and constructively criticize, my introductory level attempts at designing and building underwater vehicles for exploration and education. The first project I present in these pages is one that I’ve been slowly developing over the last few months as a testbed for techniques and technologies for an AUV that is able to compete on a collegiate level at first, and then on an industrial level for autonomous exploration of the oceans.

But first, let me offer you a few resources in observation class ROV design and construction that have aided me immensely in learning this technology and adapting my own research to the field. As with any proper understanding of a topic, one must do research and read articles and texts in order to gain the deeper understanding needed to be successful in any engineering task. Sorry twitter kids, flash media and 3 sentence blurbs aren’t going to make you a successful…well, a successful anything. Patients, concentration, and determination is what is required. So here are a small number of resources to get you started. Once reviewed, than a larger set may be explored to further understanding and conceptualization.

Starter Set:

ROV Technologies and Techniques

  1. “Build Your Own Underwater Robot and other Wet Projects”
  2. “Underwater Robotics:Science, Design and Fabrication”
  3. “The ROV Manual”
  4. MATE
  5. MBARI
  6. NOAA Ocean Explorer
  7. MBARI Build Your Own ROV

DIY Help:

  1. Home Built ROVs
  2. “Underwater Robotics:Science, Design and Fabrication”
  3. Control of Mobile Robots Course
  4. Arduino
  5. Phidgets
  6. Odroid

Programming and More:

  1. Introduction to Programming
  2. ROS Tutorials


ROV Testbed: Eidothea

The ancient Greek mythological sea nymph Eidothea was the daughter of Proteus and was said to posses prophetic powers. Proteus, her father,  was a shape shifting sea god who herded the great sea god Poseidon’s seals. The ROV testbed is designed to be modular such that modifications can be made quickly and with little structural redesign, allowing the study of varying techniques and technologies for subsurface exploration. This test bed platform is approximately a 1’x1’x9″ PVC framed unit controlled via a 50′ umbilical, gamer’s joystick, and a core i7 Samsung laptop running Ubuntu 12.04 and ROS Fuerte.

Eidothea is a learning model and launchpad for future ROV and AUV systems that will be developed at and by Robot Garden.

Interest Group:

Ideally, the interest group will contain both children, adult, and mixed subgroups of robotic enthusiasts, working on any number of varied platforms for fun, exploration, and competition. The bay area offers a plethora of aquatic application domains and we at Robot Garden wish to help lead the way in ocean exploration at all depths.

The official interest group will begin monthly meetings this coming April. Please stay tuned to the Meet Ups page and announcements for date, time, and location information. Also, consult the site calendar for events and items of interest.

Current Subgroup: Setup

Immediate Goals:

There exist a few goals in the immediate future that the interest group must address in the coming months. We have a plan for a varied depth pool at Robot Garden that will facilitate ROV/AUV wet testing. There is also a plan to build a small hydrostatic testing chamber for component testing under varying pressures, and we will have an available workshop starting in April as well. With these near feature items in mind, we plan to have a demonstrable platform for tele-operation in a water environment for Maker Faire which takes place this  May.

Another goal is to build a course offereing in ROV/AUV technologies and techniques, allowing for interest members to learn the basics of water based robotics. The best source for such a course is the above mentioned text, “Underwater Robotics:Science, Design and Fabrication”, it is designed for introductory courses in ROV and AUV science.

Plan: May 2013 Targets

  1. Working Eidothea testbed with Camera and Joystick Tele-op
  2. Shallow pool for testing
  3. Networked system for Web Tele-op
  4. Interest group(s) layout – (age, skill, etc)
  5. Educational course schedule for ROV/AUV science

General Notes:

For the California Academy of Sciences, a poster was presented, highlighting the desire to develop the Eidothea ROV platform for exploration and education programs in the Livermore valley area. This poster also stated that a possible application domain for the testbed and sensor suite would be marine environment monitoring in the Monterey bay area. This goal, however, will be modified for the local area for the immediate future. With this in mind, the wiki will also serve as a data logging utility for experiments and observations of the environments in which the ROVs operate.

Currently, the interest group Setup will be loosely organized and not ideal for young students or children until a sound and stable group base is attained. Sr. high school students and older are welcomed to participate, but keep in mind that the current development pace of the testbed platform and test environment at Robot Garden will be fast as we need to hit the above targets for May. This does not mean that interested people of all ages cannot join and start another subgroup. By all means do! Anyone is welcomed to join the meetings and anyone can participate. I just want you all to be cognizant of the current situation.

Stay tuned for more information as this site and group will be changing as we progress. We will have subgroup pages, DIY help, and member designs and analyses posted as well. See you soon!

— Jim

For extra expert assistance, contact Mark McCaster at MC Construction – next door at 7693 Longard Rd. Mark is the chemist/owner – Dave one of the people there came to visit.

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